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Making time for journal writing

pen on a black notebook

Journal writing is one of those things that everyone seems to start, but can never maintain. Life gets in the way and we are often too busy to sit down at the end of the day and dedicate time to self-reflection.  

Delivering your speech: the power of nonverbal communication

microphone in front of audience

When I say “public speaking” what comes to mind? Dread? Nervousness? Excitement? “Public speaking” often brings uneasy feelings to first year students, as standing in front of a classroom ranging from first year to fourth years may seem a lot more intimidating than one full of your long-time high school classmates. You have a well-written and researched speech and you have already sought out a peer review from the Writing and Communication Centre, but the easy part is over.

Some newfound freedom: the shift from high school to university writing

birds flying free from cage

All throughout high school, you have learned countless techniques, rules and tricks for academic writing. In high school, there is predictability, reliability, and structure, which often carries over into the writing process. One of the biggest worries for students entering their first year of university is the transition from high school to university writing. Whether it’s assignments, papers, presentations, reports and the like, writing seems to change in university – or at least the expectations do.

Spoken word poetry

A sepia picture of an old style mic on a dark background with 3 spotlights

English is an evolving field. The mediums in which it manifests itself have grown numerously and have shown different trends of popularity. In the times of Shakespeare, older prose and plays were very modern, whereas today novels and spoken word poetry seem more prevalent. That might mostly stem from the fact that we live in the Information Age and that expression is the new frontier. Everyone has the ability to create and put their ideas out there into the world. One very modern way of doing so, which has found its way into popular media, is spoken word.

Learning lessons from children's stories

Rose inside of a glass case

“’Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.’” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Tips on how to choose an assignment topic

6 crumpled pieces of paper with one lit up like a lightbulb

When a professor announces a new assignment and tells the class that you will all have to pick a topic to write about, you might feel lost and wish they had simply given you a list to choose from. In academic settings, we’re used to structured assignments where we are told what to do, so when it’s left up to us to decide, we will often have questions like:

The extinction of textbooks

Chalkboard drawing of a textbook with a dollar sign over it

If you’ve ever been a student in your life, then you know the horrors of having to shell out several hundred dollars for one textbook that you’ll probably use once or twice and then never need again. While textbooks are usually handed out for free in high school, given that it expected of you to treat them well and return them at the end of the semester, this is somehow not a practice commonly used at university.

Succeeding with learning disabilities

Brain surrounded by electricity

In my previous three blog posts, I talked a lot about the benefits of reading and writing, as well as some of the different forms of reading and writing that are often overlooked.  However, I think it is also important to talk about some of the barriers to reading and writing.

"I hate everything I write"

girl sadly looking at her notebook

Most of us, and especially those of us who engage in creative writing, have experienced this thought before. Oftentimes when looking back at something we’ve written, we are either ashamed or embarrassed by the quality of our work. It’s a similar sensation to hearing your voice on a recording; do I really sound like that? Did I really write that? There are countless times where I have written something then later crumpled it up and tossed it in the trash. I’m sure many people are familiar with this feeling. But why do we feel it, and what can we do about it?

The art of taking negative feedback

Image of Ned Stark from the TV show "Game of Thrones" which reads: "Brace Yourselves. Constructive Criticism is Coming"

Knowing you did something wrong is tough. Being called out on it can be even harsher. As students, however, feedback is something you often get. While we usually gloss over the positive feedback, when we face negative feedback we can become pretty defensive. And that’s natural. Your writing is something special that you created and thus when you receive criticism, it can seem like an attack on you. However, while some of this criticism can come across as demeaning or confidence shattering, there are usually helpful things to be taken from the notes your marker has left for you.

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