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1.5: Exercises

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    1. Interview a professor about his or her work. What drew them into their field? What do they work on in their scholarly or creative endeavors? What do they most enjoy about teaching? What behaviors do they like to see in students?
    2. Go to Professor Stephen Chew’s website about good study practices and watch the first video titled “Beliefs that Make You Fail … or Succeed.” How can the concept of metacognition be used to explain why good papers are challenging to write?
    other resources
    1. The Transition to College Writing 2nd ed. (New York: Norton, 2009), by Keith Hjortshoj (pronounced “Hort-shoy”) is written expressly for the new college student. It offers a nicely plain-spoken and comprehensive introduction to college writing.
    2. This online text (also called “Writing In College”) by Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney provides another good process-based run-down.
    3. This fun website summarizes the daily routines of some famous writers.


    1 Hart Research Associates, Raising the Bar: Employers’ Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn,, 9.

    2 Ibid., 5.

    3 If you don’t want to be as interactive, but you want to make good money, you’re better off seeking training in a skilled building trade like plumbing or electrical work. Frankly, a lot of

    plumbers make more money than a lot of your professors!

    4 Hart Research Associates, It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success.

    5 You may have noticed that some instructors have the title “assistant professor” or “associate professor.” It’s because in the original European model there could be only one “Professor” for a given topic, and those other titles were developed for younger scholars. Nowadays most universities have several “professors.” Many newer faculty are still called “assistant professors” even though they don’t assist other faculty.

    6 As students became a larger and larger presence at European universities, “colleges” emerged as semi-autonomous units within universities to provide housing, meals, and venues for social interaction. The model of the stand-alone “college” emerged in the Americas after European colonization.

    7 At big research universities, a full-time faculty member might teach only one or two courses a year. At a community college, an instructor might teach five or six classes a semester. Undergraduate four-year colleges are usually somewhere in between.

    8 This is why some instructors are VERY persnickety about being addressed as “Doctor” or “Professor” and not “Mr.” or “Ms.” Not all fields have doctoral degrees—for example, many professors in the arts have MFA degrees (Masters of Fine Arts) — but “Professor” is always an appropriate choice for addressing your instructors.

    9 The term of art for this, coined by novelist and memoirist Anne Lamott is “shitty first drafts.” “Zero draft” is a more polite term for it.

    10 Most parts of this book, for example, took about four drafts to write even though they’re based on lecture notes that I’ve been developing for years.

    This page titled 1.5: Exercises is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Amy Guptill.

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