Name: Matt Preda
Major(s), Minor(s): Psychology, Neuroscience and Spanish
Standing : Senior
Astrological Sign: Aquarius
1. Other than class assignments, what kinds of things do you write or have you written?
At this point, most of my writing is in the form of to-do lists and reminders to myself. This makes me kind of sad, so one goal I have for the near future is making more time to write, even when I don’t have to. I’m a little weird in that I actually love writing academic papers, so writing more informally (like fiction and poetry) is something I’ve never really done, but would like to try doing.
2. What piece of writing are you most proud of?
In my sophomore year, for a neurobiology course, I worked on an extensive and lengthy research project involving the calculation of volumes of brain structures and their connection to mental disorders. My partner and I put a lot of hours into researching and writing the report, and it turned out to be something we were both very proud of. We will hopefully be presenting the paper at a conference this fall, which I am very excited about.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
I can write just about anywhere, but I especially love working in the library. It’s comfortable and familiar, and I am my most productive there. However, I tend to wander on my frequent (probably too frequent) breaks and take walks around the building, so inspiration can strike anywhere, at which point I rush back to my computer and get back to writing.
4. Do you have any interesting quirks and/or routines you follow when writing or when you are preparing to write? What are they?
Like I said before, I like to get up and walk around while I’m writing. This usually results in my writing in short but productive bursts punctuated by frequent breaks. I also tend to stay up pretty late when I’m writing for class, partly due to those breaks I take and partly because I get very into writing and can’t pull myself away until I finish.
This question really isn’t fair. I don’t think I could ever pick one favorite, because I might read something great and then have a new favorite, and we would have to update the page, and then what if it happened again! However, I am a big fan of Oliver Sacks, John Steinbeck, J.K. Rowling, and the poetry of Pablo Neruda, and lots of others I’m sure I’ve forgotten. But, I’m always looking for new favorites, so let me know if there’s someone good I should be reading!
6. What was the best writing experience of your life?
The first paper I ever wrote fully in Spanish was far from perfect, but the sense of accomplishment I felt after completing it was unlike any other. When I finished it, I felt like all the work I had done over the past few years studying and learning a new language had finally paid off, and I had “mastered” the language in some way. I definitely have a lot left to learn and improve upon, but having the ability to write in a language besides English is really cool.
I am often guilty of procrastination on writing assignments, which leads to a rush to finish in the last day or two before the due date. This means that I don’t always dedicate as much time as I should to each stage of the writing process. When I do take the time to make a plan and work slowly on my writing, it is much better, in my opinion. So, I’d like to try and work toward being more proactive about writing in the future and implementing all of those editing and revision steps that often get left out.
8. What advice do you have for other Wittenberg writers?
The same advice I just gave myself: Start earlier! Earlier than you think you need to start. If you do that, you’ll stand a chance of finishing ahead of schedule and then you’ll have more time to reread and revise your work. No piece of writing has ever been made worse by spending more time thinking about it and considering others’ thoughts about it. Bring your paper into the Writing Center, and we can talk about your work and how to make it even better.
9. What should students know about you when they come in to visit you in the Writing Center?
That I love to learn new things from other people. I love to work with papers about subjects I am unfamiliar with. It’s very exciting to be able to leave a session having learned something new in addition to working on improving a piece of writing. So go ahead and bring in your paper on theoretical physics or Russian literature or whatever. Just be ready to explain and help me understand what you’re writing about so that we can work together on making it the best it can be!
10. What’s the best part about working in the Writing Center?
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know and working closely with my fellow advisors and other writers. I love those great conversations that can happen during sessions, especially the ones that seem to have very little to do with the work at hand. Getting to know new people is one of my favorite activities: one that I hope to do a lot of during my time at the Writing Center. I also love that I can walk out of the Center each day having learned something new – about a previously unknown topic, or about a fellow student, or about myself.