Instructor Journals Last-Minute Advice and Encourages Graduates to Share Their Own
Librarian Dana Wallace asked me to leave something behind after teaching for Globe University-La Crosse for three years before I embarked on my new professional endeavor so that students remember the importance of writing and the impact that the Writing Across the Curriculum Program will have on their futures, a program that strives to help students become better writers in all their coursework and later in their careers. I didn’t want to just leave something behind but start something that would continue. What can always start something? Writing. I left behind a journal where graduating students can tell their Globe stories and give advice to future students to read when classes, family, and work seem to be too much.
If you turn to page one, you will read my advice:
I usually hear this expression from my students before they give a presentation: “I’m nervous.” I always remind them that it is ok to be nervous; it shows that you care, but they should never tell their audience this because they really have no idea you are nervous until you tell them.
Most of my students don’t know this, but every first day of class, I get nervous just like it is my first day teaching at Globe all over again: Will my students like me? Will they be bored? Will they notice that I say, “OK, Mmm-K, or Does that make sense?” a lot? (Now, I usually warn them the first day and tell them I use it as a confirmation strategy.) Yes, I know this sounds childish, to get nervous, but it’s true: I care about my students.
I hold a very important stake in their future. I not only want them to learn how to become better writers, film viewers, readers, and open-minded citizens; I want them to have fun while doing it. I always remind my students, “If I’m not having fun, then you’re not having fun, then no one is learning.”
If I could leave behind one spec of advice for future students, it would be simple. No, it isn’t about writing that is what you would expect. It is much simpler than that: “Leave your negativity far from anyone else’s ear.” I have been asked many times, “Are you always this happy?” My response, “Yes and No. Yes, because life should be lived not analyzed (It took me 29 years to figure that out.). No, because I’m human.”
Life is all about your reactions to it. Your job: just care about it and welcome the nerves.
Globe graduates, I encourage you to retell your story and help your peers overcome their fears about returning to college, so they too can find the laughter that nerves can bring. Find the journal in the library and leave your advice for others.
This post was written by Jodie Liedke. Liedke, a true Wisconsinite, having labored four summers in a mozzarella factory, received her BA from Lakeland College and her Masters in Fine Arts from Wichita State University in Kansas. Liedke was the General Education and Service-Learning Coordinator, a Creative Quill and Writing Across the Curriculum lead, and the adviser/instructor for GLUWW (Globe La Crosse Writers Write). When not writing creatively, Liedke enjoys watching films, exploring the outdoors, and biking.