Last week, we spent two days in Des Moines at Drake University for freshman orientation before my son attends in the fall. One of the sessions for parents and students involved learning about “the Drake curriculum” and its emphasis on critical thinking and preparation for an ever-changing future. The idea is to give students the skills to react when change occurs, to be prepared for it to happen, and even to anticipate it.
This, of course, is distinct from a curriculum that prepares a student for a profession — period. I was warmed by the presentation inasmuch as it focused on writing as a tool toward learning, mastering information and analyzing it. It forces students to consider a problem, how to approach it, what resources they require to address it and so on.
The professor, Jennifer McCrickerd, was an engaging speaker, somewhat self-effacing, with a good sense of humor. At one point, in her discussion of writing, she noted how much she hates to write. And she observed that, if we’re all honest, everyone hates to write. She went on, as I tweeted at the time:
OH @DrakeUniversity orientation: “If you love to write, you’re the weird one,” via curriculum talk. Yes! I’m the weird one!— Kurt Greenbaum (@kgreenbaum)
I understand her point. Few people get how difficult writing is. Facing a blank screen can be daunting. Finding the right words in the right order. Revising. Just collecting the material can be draining. Even as I write this, I’m struggling to find precisely the right vocabulary words to convey some of the ideas I’m trying to express.
Organizing what might be a vast collection of information into something conversational, concise, logical and even eloquent is not something just anyone can do.
My heavens, I love to write. So I’m happy to be the weird one.
(Image courtesy of shira gal, via Flickr, under Creative Commons license.)