Learning Curve

My undergraduate writing career began in my INTD: The Woman Writer. From my high school experience, I knew that I enjoyed reading and writing; however, I pushed my love for creative writing and reading to the back burners when I entered college.

Thankfully, my INTD class reawakened or perhaps reminded me of my love for the English language as an art form. After much debate, I decided to pursue an English minor my sophomore year.

Let me tell you, adopting an English minor made its way to my “Top Three Best Decisions in College.” I needed a creative outlet and my English classes served this purpose. After taking the select number of required classes I joyfully enrolled in some upper-level electives.

That’s when I realized that I was in over my head. Although I had taken the required classes, I still felt like I was under-experienced relative to my peers. I generally would sit back and absorb their comments in an attempt to distinguish the “good” from the “this could be better.”

Needless to say, it has taken several classes, workshops, and writing exercises to be able to critique a poem and form opinions about it, without feeling like I was stabbing in the dark. As I have gathered experience and confidence in my capabilities I have less of a problem voicing my opinions and supporting them.

I hope that any student struggling with imposter syndrome in their classes has an “aha moment” and finds their confidence and sense of belonging. It’s worth to note that my “aha” moment took a solid year or two.

Has anyone else misinterpreted their lack of experience/confidence with a lack of capability/skill?

5 Replies to “Learning Curve”

  1. Rachel,

    I relate to this blog post. For the longest time, I thought I wanted to major in psychology. I came into my freshman year and was dead set on taking psych classes. I took intro to psych first semester freshman year and absolutely hated it. Needless to say I was devastated. I felt like I had all this pressure to major in psych since it was everything I always talked about doing in High School. I felt lost for all of my freshman and sophomore year of college until I started taking some English classes. I declared my English major the end of my Sophomore year and my concentration in creative writing the end of my first semester Junior year. Like you said, it has been one of the best decisions of my life.
    I also relate to this post with your last question…if I understand it correctly, yes I have often felt restricted making comments on my peers work. When I first began creative writing I had no idea what I was supposed to look for, comment on, or understand. It took a while and with various practice and writing my own work, I can confidently say I have the tools needed to critique someone else’s work. And like you said, we all will have our “aha” moment, no matter how long it takes. 🙂

    Bri Forgione

    1. Bri,
      I am so glad you shared this! I know I have been scared to change my mind because of what “younger me” has said, but we are allowed to!
      I’m glad you found your calling in English and your confidence!! 🙂

  2. Rachel~
    I have definintely had moments of doubt when it comes to my writing in workshops. I come from a small high school that had a Creative Writing program thanks to the creative fervor of one teacher. In that class, many students looking for credit fulfillment were placed. Because of the lack of passion in the writing, my work stood out as having potential. This, coupled with a couple of very small publications, went to my head. When I arrived at Geneseo and weasled my way into a Fiction I Workshop, I was quickly brought back down to earth. I realized that the work I produced in high school was ammature, and lacked though along with a clear point of attack. I had writer’s block for several weeks, which was a new roadblock to my progress. I was scared to write, because I thought it wouldn’t be any good. It took my handwriting work for a couple of days, and gaining confidence in my technical abilities to overcome this roadblock. I am continually humbled by my peers at Geneseo, and am so grateful to be a part of the creative culture here.

  3. Rachel,

    I often feel a lack in my skill, and holes in my confidence. This comes from comparison to my peers, and from a fear of the future. What will I do with my English major? Will I get into a good MFA program? It all makes me nervous, and makes me question what I am truly doing. This can very easily bring down self-esteem, and result in poor poetry. I often try to build up this confidence, but some days are harder than others for sure…

    Keep pushing forward!

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