Experiences, Advice, and Inspiration from First Year Cardinals: A Collaborative Blog

Last Thursday, the University Writing Center participated in the Office of First Year Initiatives Night at the Museum event. In the past, this event has been held at the neighboring Speed Art Museum, but since the museum is currently under construction it was moved to Ekstrom Library, where the Writing Center also happens to be located. We were excited to be involved in this event which, like many others in the week before school starts, aims to familiarize first-year students with campus, build community, and get everyone ready for the Fall semester.

There were many features available throughout the event, including a magician, a fire show, a scavenger hunt and others. DSCN1679On the 3rd floor in the Writing Center, in addition to the caricature artist, students were able to make videos about their experiences with writing, help decorate banners promoting what they believe about writing, and help write a collaborative blog post for this blog. To get the words flowing, we did offer some topic suggestions asking students to reflect on their best experiences with writing or advice about writing.

The night was filled with stories of papers, like this one:

My best writing experience was when I finished my 14 page Extended Essay for the International Baccalaureate Program in 2 freaking days. When results came in I received a 7 (the highest possible grade)!!! YAY!!!

And this one:

The best writing compliment I ever received was an accusation of plagiarism. That may sound a little mixed up, but it really was. Because what my teacher said to me wasn’t “you cheated” or “this isn’t yours” but rather “you couldn’t have possibly written this well”. And when I finally convinced him I had, he told me that it was essays like mine that showed that his class truly mattered.

By far, though, the most popular theme of the night was “best writing advice”:

Don’t use clichés!

Try as many different writing styles as possible. Try outlining, but if it doesn’t work you can always try something else! You never know when you will find a method that works for you. Most importantly, ASK FOR HELP!

When you finish a paper, read it backwards to catch spelling errors.  Then, make sure to have someone else read it.  They’ll probably see errors that you missed!

Be brief.DSCN1676

Make your diction sophisticated enough to be intelligent but simple enough to be practical.

Get rid of the fluff.

Don’t use “be” verbs!

If you use garbage words (nice, good, bad, like, ect.) I’m judging you.

Don’t use a semicolon unless you know how to use it. Seriously.

Write what you feel, when you feel it. Edit later.

In addition to the circulating stories of experiences, compliments, and advice, some students took the opportunity to listen to their inner muse and offer a demonstration of word play.

Poetry is


Fight Club.

T h e r e       a r e      n o      r u l e s.

(except if it’s iambic pentameter, then there are rules. Sorry)

I wish I could speak English. I know incredibly close to no English. No English. No English. At all. Ever. 2+2=*

Everything is either everybody’s fault or nobody’s fault. Connections are limitless. Such is the madness of life and the living.

And, as ever, we should remember:


Here at UofL,

The possibilities soar,

Proud to be a Card.


I thank you are the best.

Compiler’s Note: The participating students all chose not to include their names. The Writing Center would like to thank all the students who visited us at the Night at the Museum event as well as those who participated in the collaborative blog, videos, and other activities. Thanks also go to First Year Initiatives for organizing this event and including us.

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