Major: Psychology, B.S.
1. What type of writing do you usually produce for your major(s)?
Although my major is technically a “social science,” I find myself writing in a lot more of the science aspect than the social. My focus is largely (to an obsessive extent) on neuroscience, and the writing I’ve produced reflects that. I write a lot of summaries for relevant journal articles as well as a lot of lab reports. I have somewhat of a good exposure to statistics, so I’m not only familiar with the format of lab write-ups, but specifically work well with data explanations.
2. What sort of writing do you do outside of class?
I tweet a lot…
I don’t do a lot of writing during my free time, but when I do, it’s my way of processing information. Whether I’ve had a bad day or just have a lot on my mind, I use writing as a tool to take the knot of ideas in my head and unravel them into something useful.
3. What piece of writing are you most proud of?
Most of the writing I’ve been doing recently isn’t that exciting. I’m really looking forward to working on my Behavioral Neuroscience Research paper which will also function as my Neuroscience capstone. This semester I’ll be working with mice – specifically prenatal antidepressant use and the risk of autism spectrum disorders in offspring. This kind of stuff is not only fascinating to me, but quite relevant in society today.
4. Where is your favorite place to write? Why?
I do most of my writing, and work in general, in Post 95. I’ve found that I’m most efficient when surrounded by people, drinking too much coffee, and eating French fries. If what I’m working on doesn’t have grease stains on it, I probably haven’t tried very hard. If I’m just writing for fun, you can probably find me in a comfy chair in my bedroom.
5. What quirky routines do you follow when writing or when you are preparing to write?
I’m an avid pre-writer. Whether I’m working on a 1-page summary or a 25-page paper, I take a lot of time beforehand to plan out and think about what I’m going to say. It’s always on a blank piece of computer paper and it’s always with a colored pen.
6. Who is your favorite writer? Why?
I’ve been on a huge Chuck Palahniuk kick recently, but I have to stay loyal to my main man Kurt Vonnegut. They both have a great irreverence about their writing that I adore. There is always a good balance between writing that makes you think and stories that don’t make you think too hard. Vonnegut is also brilliant at character development. Everyone in his novels has a very purposeful depth and story that I really enjoy. Both of these writers also come up with some fantastic quotes that I like to post on facebook to impress my friends.
7. What was the best writing experience of your life?
Let’s be honest, most of us like to be recognized for the hard work we put into something. So my best writing experiences have been those after which I receive positive feedback. It makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile and my efforts have not gone unnoticed. In my freshman English 101 class, we were told we could write our final research paper on whatever we wanted. Most people chose to stay with topics we had covered in class. I, on the other hand, decided to write about the psychological explanations for why people think they’ve been abducted by aliens. I put a lot of work into the research and writing, and really enjoyed working on it even though it wasn’t a typical topic. My professor really liked my work and made sure to tell me so.
8. What would you most like to improve about your writing?
I have a really hard time writing introductions, and getting started in general. I think I psych myself out before I begin and make it harder for myself than it should be. I would love to be able to just dive in to a paper with no fear.
9. What advice do you have for other writers at Wittenberg?
Read. The best writers are also avid readers. The more you expose yourself to different types of writing, whether it is different novels or different scientific journals, the easier it will be for you to develop your own writing style. Although we’d like to think differently, very few things in life are truly organic. Everything comes from something. The more time you spend working on where your writing comes from, the more at ease you will feel. I think I’ve become a noticeably better scientific writer after reading massive amount of journal articles for one reason or another. After seeing how the pros do it, I can model my work after them.
10. What’s the best part about working in the Writing Center?
I love to learn. Give me any new information and I’ll try to sponge up every bit of it. In the Writing Center, I get exposed to different people, different content, and different pools of knowledge. It’s so fun to be able to have an honest discussion about many different things. I can go from a history paper to a bio lab report within an hour. I love being able to talk with writers and try to soak up their knowledge while sharing my own. Writing is always better when you do it with a buddy.