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As the summer comes to a close, teenagers everywhere have packed up the lives that they have known for so long to start a new one in college. Some moved hours away from home, while some moved just minutes. But, regardless of distance, it is safe to assume students at universities everywhere have anxiously awaited the start of classes and their new social lives. And for the students in English 105i at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it is no different.

On Thursday, English 105i had its first class. We started by introducing ourselves to a room full of new faces by sharing our name, pronouns, year in school, major, hometown, and, of course, a fun or boring fact about ourselves. As most of the students in the class are freshmen, this activity relieved some of the first-day nerves that we were all experiencing. Next, the class dove straight into the details of the course by looking over the syllabus. While this is not the most wildly exciting activity, the syllabus helped to lay out the expectations of the course, as well as define what we would need to do to succeed. And to end the class, we were assigned our working groups that serve as a smaller cohort to our larger class community. These groups will serve as both discussion and writing groups that will help the students maximize their potential to improve as writers throughout the English 105i course. After picking our group names, we packed up our bags and headed off to attempt to find our next class.

However, English 105i was not over for the week just yet. Three readings were assigned to complete over the weekend. While all of them contained helpful information, I was most fond of the reading entitled “Shitty First Drafts.” This piece discussed the importance of not being critical of a first draft because this draft should be a space to get all of your ideas on paper to figure out what you actually want to say. As many of the students’ goal for the class is to evolve into more complex writers, this advice will prove to be useful. This is because, to improve our writing skills, we will have to write many first drafts that will not live up to what we hoped they would be. And it would be easy to become discouraged, but it is only through the second and third drafts where we will produce more advanced writing.

After attending our first class and completing the work for the next week, students can look back on the first week of college with a sigh of relief. Now that the nerves have died down, the excitement for the weeks to come can settle in. Specifically for the English 105i class, we will begin to work on our Unit 1 video essay next class by picking our topic of interest. While this task may seem daunting, the advice from “Shitty First Drafts” lingers with me, reminding me that it is ok if I fail the first time, both in writing drafts and in figuring out my new life in college. And with that in mind, I look forward to tackling my next English 105i class on Tuesday.


Featured Image Source:

Andrews, Johnny. “Sophomore Annabel Bloom Carries Suitcases Past the Old Well as Students Move Back into the Residence Halls.” The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, 16 Aug. 2019,

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