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Helpful Strategies
Learning a new skill or art takes time!

Take a minute to think about something you're really good at. Try to remember how you felt when you started out. It doesn't matter whether you're accomplished at drawing human figures, ice hockey, playing a musical instrument, or fixing engines, chances are pretty good that you initially had moments of feeling lost, embarrassed, and self conscious. Learning to write and do research isn't any different. All of us start out wondering if we're going to be able to pull it off. We need to be patient and plan to allow time for the process of learning to unfold. When you're climbing a mountain you can't always see exactly where you're headed, but when you get to the top you have a better view of where you've been and a real rush of accomplishment.

So Relax !

student pulling hair, crumpling paper  (by Sarah Malavasic)
Artwork by Sarah Malavasic '02

Just as with anything you learn, there are stages of writing development, with different expectations at each level. You're not writing a Master's thesis or Doctoral dissertation at this point in your career. Your job as an undergraduate is to gain an understanding of a particular area of scholarship. The materials you select for your paper and how you use them are your unique contribution.

"But, I'm just no good at writing."

Few undergraduates start out with all the skills they need to write research or other papers.

Most people find writing is time consuming and stressful. Those who succeed are persistent.

Professors, Teaching Assistants, Librarians, and staff at the Writing Center on campus can all be valuable resources to help you learn how to approach and succeed with writing assignments.

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