June 2012 Archives

I have of course enjoyed my time at UMass Lowell and plan to continue doing so, but everyone has regrets. My biggest regret dates back to before my freshmen year started. Just like the title says, my biggest regret originates from orientation. Allow me to elaborate.

I remember the weeks leading up to orientation, I was extremely excited. It was the first time I was going to be able to get a good look at the university, get an idea of what it's all about. I'm sure every other student that was attending was thinking the same thing.

When I got there, I enjoyed my time and participated in everything that was offered. It was a really good time. Wait a minute, now you're probably thinking, "then why do you regret it?"

The real big thing I regret is not being myself, being conservative. Though some activities might be a bit embarrassing (I'm not kidding haha), I highly encourage you try to participate and speak up frequently. This is your first chance to show yourself to a whole new group of people. High school is behind you now. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do that for a variety of reasons and I regret that. I could have made many more friends if I was a little bit more active and engaging.

So don't make the same mistake I did incoming freshmen! I see you all having fun at orientation, I help set up for the writing placement testing. Enjoy orientation and make sure making new friends is on top of your priority list at orientation. I hope you all have a good time.

Til next time,

Andy
Hey guys, hope you all have been well. I have a camping trip set up for next week which I am very excited about. In the meanwhile, I still have to work and earn money!

So as some of you may know, I work for the English department as my summer employment job here in UMass Lowell. As I've said before, it's fantastic here. I do random tasks, but one consistent task I do is setting up for the writing placement testing for freshmen orientation on the testing days. I'm sure you all remember taking yours. As I was doing the usual task, I thought to myself, what must all those students be thinking at this moment? I remember myself taking it and regretting taking it lightly, until I completed the College Writing A course.

The placement testing is designed to have freshmen be placed to the correct level of English classes, so they could work on honing their writing skills without difficulty. You are either placed in college writing A or 1, and in rare cases, 2 (I'm not sure if it's ever been done before). I was an honors English student in high school, so I went in there thinking it would be a breeze. I probably wrote a horrendous paper and ultimately, I was placed in college writing A. I hated that I got placed in a lower writing class, as it was very uncharacteristic of me. Instead of re-testing, however, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go back to the basics and try to stay a bit more humble. It was a nice wake up call.

I remember the first thing my professor said in college writing A, which was that he believed students who took this course turn out better than those who went straight to college writing 1. I thought he was spewing mumbo jumbo at that point but after I took the course, I knew he was correct. We worked on the basics and really crafted our skills in writing. It wasn't about completing lesson plans for the semester, but really getting us ready to do that for the future. I can gladly say that I was glad to have taken that class instead of jumping right into college writing 1. I ended up getting A's in all of the college writing classes, but grades are not the point here. It made me a better, structured writer for the future.

My small piece of advice to the freshmen are that even if you get placed in college writing A, don't get discouraged! It's not the end of the world and it's okay to see your friends jump into college writing 1 before you. It will help you out more than it hurts you, trust me on that one. The English professors here are great at what they do and they will do their best to improve your writing no matter what. If you are taking college writing 1, then congratulations to you as well! You probably deserve to be placed there!

It's great to see all the freshmen on campus for orientation. It really brought back memories. Hearing a crowd yell "fired up" on top of their lungs was pretty familiar too. I wish I had the time and commitment to engage in these freshmen-welcoming activities too!

Until next time,

Andy

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