A chill breeze flows through the air and leaves begin to fall during this last full week of classes for the Fall 2021 semester. The student body is buzzing with excitement as Thanksgiving break rapidly approaches. Although the most stressful portion of the semester is upon us, the finish line is within eyesight.
In the world of English 105i, students are hard at work on their Unit 3: Writing in the Health Humanities projects. For these projects, we have been tasked with writing an illness narrative based on an interview conducted with an individual of our choosing. In order to succeed in writing our illness narratives, we examined multiple different genre models with our groups during Tuesday’s class. Embarking on a journey into an unfamiliar writing genre can be intimidating; reading genre models helps take away this fear by making the conventions of the genre less foreign. My group, Festivus, read an illness narrative about a triathlete named Madison whose injury took away her ability to run competitively. The narratives assigned to the other groups dealt with epilepsy, diabetes, and PTSD. Along with teaching me some acceptable structures for an illness narrative, reading and comparing these pieces helped me realize the degree of artistic freedom and creativity that an author of this genre can have. Each narrative had its own unique style and voice that made them not only informative, but also interesting to read (like works of creative non-fiction). This experience made me excited to flex my creative muscles and dive into work on my own narrative.
After finishing our review of the genre models, the class transitioned into a workshop of our Feeder 3.2 assignments. This feeder was a compilation of polished interview notes that will serve as the starting point for the final narrative. I always enjoy the workshop experiences in class. The comments I receive from peers are always very constructive and help me to craft a better final product. Additionally, I really enjoy reading the work of my peers and having discussions about our work with each other. With this unit in particular, the feeder projects offer a window into the lives of my group members and those that they care about. It was nice learning more about each of them as individuals and seeing their unique voices shine through in this more creative writing format. With the workshop complete, we were sent home with the task of revising our feeders and submitting them for a grade. Now, we will each begin work on our final unit projects. I am very excited to read everyone’s final products when they are posted on the course website after Thanksgiving break!
On Thursday, we took some time to step away from writing in health and medicine to focus on two other forms of writing – business and creative writing. With our class being made up mainly of STEM and other health related majors, I think I can speak on behalf of all of us in saying that exploring these other disciplines that we are not as familiar with was very helpful. Writing in business is a skill that everyone must be competent in, no matter what career path you go down. I found our discussion of resumes and cover letters especially helpful as someone who is currently polishing their resume to apply for research positions and internships. While creative writing may not be as practical of a topic for everyone, it is certainly applicable to each of us in unit 3 of this class. As I previously mentioned, our illness narratives can really be viewed as works of creative nonfiction. The resources provided and our class discussion will certainly prove beneficial as we sit down to write our full narratives over the weekend. On a personal level, I have always been intrigued by creative writing but never knew how to get started. This discussion has definitely inspired me to give it a shot and has shown me possible ways to begin my journey.
With Thanksgiving break next week, I hope that everybody enjoys their well-deserved rest. Spend time with loved ones, eat to your heart’s content, and try to clear your mind of the college stress for at least a little while. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I cannot wait to fly home to Florida, escape the cold weather for a few days, and eat turkey and mac and cheese until my stomach just about explodes. In the spirit of the holiday, I am thankful to have had an overall amazing first semester of college, and this class certainly contributed to that! Happy Thanksgiving, Tar Heels! <3
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