At Shortridge, students have shown different sides of themselves in writing and analysis. My first time coming to Shortridge, I didn’t know what to expect. Immediately, I noticed big differences between the tutored group, the creative writing group, and grade level. In Exclusive Ink, I could tell who freshmen were and who seniors were. The freshmen seemed to stick together and were very extroverted and excited about working with us. Seniors didn’t need each other to stand. I thought there would be a large difference in writing ability and style, but I was surprised. The freshmen often had a difficult time maintaining focus, and it was clear they were looking forward to any social time they could get. I expected them to be fast and impulsive in their writing, perhaps with a few clichés or melodramatic lines. Yet, they were pensive and cautious in their writing. I was a lot like Emily when I was her age. She would start writing but then stop when she became stuck or didn’t like it. She would crumple up the paper and start over again. Like me, she took a long time to get past the “getting started” point. It is very difficult and nerve-wracking to keep going if you are uncomfortable with what you have written, or don’t know where to head next. I told her that I always took a long time too, but she should keep writing, even just to get “junk” out of the way before the good writing came.

Meanwhile, Jammonica seemed like the most timid in the group dynamic. However, she wrote continuously and didn’t seem to be afraid of making mistakes or having to edit later. A petite and quiet girl, she had very sharp writing. She often used dark humor, but sometimes was just dark. Her first piece was about Hell, and it was a bit twisted, but in a fascinating way, not in a “trying-too-hard” or forceful way.

For our literacy tutoring, it was a mere accident that I ended up working with Kim. The first time, Emma brought a book that they started reading and I joined. I really loved the book, and we had a very good discussion about it. After the next few sessions, I became invested in Kim and the book, and just wanted to hear her thoughts on it. She was very intuitive about the characters, their feelings, and the overarching themes. I feel like I have joined mini-book club, and hope to read more soon!

Hayley Van Duyn is a junior Psychology/Neuroscience major.