Student writing a reflection

What have students said about Calderwood seminars they’ve taken?

The last assignment in each Calderwood seminar asks students to reflect upon what they've learned in the course, what they liked best, what they would improve or change, and what their favorite piece of writing turned out to be. Here are some excerpts from these assignments as well as from student evaluation questionnaires. These excerpts are from the 2019-2020 academic year.

AMST 355: Critiquing American Popular Culture

I walked into class on the first day a nervous and insecure writer, unaware of my own voice. After a long and hard semester, I am proud of the work I've completed and all that I have learned. Not only do I have a better handle on making complex ideas accessible, which is at the heart of the Calderwood Public Writing Program agenda, but I also know who I am as a writer.

ENG 316: Dead Poetry Society

I'm proud of my articles in this class because they show how far I've come in my academic career. As a former English-as-a-Second-Langueage student, I never expected to be able to understand enough modern day English (much less Middle English) to write about Chaucer for a public audience. I dedicate my work in this class to my second-grade self, who felt helpless and ignorant as she struggled to make sense of this language.

ES 399: Environmental Synthesis and Communication

The revision process has taught me that it's okay if it doesn't work - just delete it and try again. Writing timidly, while perhaps emotionally safer, doesn't always result in the best writing. It's better to just go for it. I'll gain confidence when the risks work, I'll learn resilency and perseverance when they don't.

PHIL 330: Ethics for Everyone

The first and most alarming effect of editing is encountering that vast and seemingly unbridgeable crevice between what you mean and what you actually say. When I started the semester, and generally in all of my previous philosophy classes, the greatest obstacle was coming up with a point. I would spend hours trying to find a loophole in Aristotle, and be relieved when all I had to do was write it, because that was the easy part. I worried that the same would be true of a public writing seminar, and that I would struggle through trying to come up with an original thought and then madly jot it down. But I was shocked to discover that I actually have a lot of thoughts! The real puzzle lay in expressing it, not just with the right logic, but with the right tone and feel and structure. The goal is not to be right, but to be heard. The final aim is not getting your brain onto paper, it's getting the paper into someone else's brain.

FREN/CPLT 359: Advocating for Other Cultures

I made the wise decision of taking this class, and it was the second-best decision I have ever made, after choosing to study at Wellesley College. In fact, I think this class was the very essence of Wellesley College. Imagination at its best, writing at its finest, and diversity at its highest.