All posts by Jennifer Ismirle

20th Anniversary Kickoff Party!

20/20 Kickoff Party Poster. Come Celebrate with a bounce house, face painting, door prizes, preformances, food, games, and much more! August 18th, 3-6pm, behind Bessey Hall. For more information go to writing.msu.edu/20-20

The Writing Center is celebrating our 20th Anniversary with 20 events across the academic year. We’re launching this year of celebrations with a Kick Off Party on August 18th. All are welcome!

You may have noticed our new pens in the Writing Center, and perhaps even wondered what this “20/20” thing is all about. This year is the Writing Center’s 20th anniversary, and we are celebrating with 20 events throughout this academic year. Don’t worry, perfect vision is not required. All are welcome!

Our first event is on August 18th from 3-6pm, behind Bessey Hall – our 20th Anniversary Kickoff Party! We are starting off our celebration in the best way possible – with a bounce house, games, raffles, and of course, food! There will also be a scavenger hunt, a photo booth, crafts, and much more!

Don’t miss out on the fun, and you may even go home with a gift card, t-shirt, or tickets to a show!

Check out the schedule of events for the whole year. We hope to see you throughout our celebration this year, and of course we are always here to help you at Bessey Hall or one of our many satellites!

Need help structuring your essay? Look no further!

As a student in middle school and high school, the five-paragraph essay format was hammered into my head constantly, and this became the only way that I would write an essay. However, at MSU I learned that although this format is one way to organize an essay, writing in college does not have to be so narrowly focused.

For example, following the five-paragraph essay format does not necessarily mean you will only be writing five paragraphs. You most likely will be writing at least five, but it is not limited to this number. You can think of it more as a five-section essay. This format is more a way to organize your essay in a style that is easily recognizable and fits a standard (American) convention. So, although this can seem boring to write this way, it is a way of writing which shows that you can organize information and your main points in one way that is easy to follow for a reader (aka for a professor or TA).

To organize your essay, a five-section essay will include these parts:
1. Introduction (which includes your thesis statement)
2. Supporting Idea/Main Point One
3. Supporting Idea/Main Point Two
4. Supporting Idea/Main Point Three
5. Conclusion

For a more in-depth look at what to include in each of these five-sections, look here. This resource comes from a retired teacher of literature and writing, and she also provides some overall essay writing advice too.

Look here for another explanation of what to include, and if you scroll down just a bit, you will also find a short video that will take you through a step-by-step example using diagrams; sometimes it helps to see an example laid out in action.

Finally, it may help to think of an essay as an “intellectual journey” for a reader, and this example provides helpful questions to think about while writing each section of your essay.

As always, if you have more questions or want more help with structure and organization, do not hesitate to make an appointment with any of our consultants here at the Writing Center!

Featured Consultant: Jennifer

This week’s featured consultant is Jennifer! She’s already had a plethora of experience with writing through her English degree here at MSU, and 2 years of experience teaching English in South Korea. She is now working on her second BA in Professional Writing, so she can help you with all kinds of writing from typical essays and reports and even creative writing, like fiction. Currently living in an apartment that does not allow pets, Jennifer has a huge obsession with watching videos of animals. So to help her tell her story, check out the links along the way!

I am sure any of my family and friends would describe me as an incredibly shy person, and especially any of my professors. Whenever that first day of class comes around and everyone has to share something about themselves, I have a panic attack inside as it gets closer and closer to my turn.

Now you may wonder, why am I a writing consultant then, something that requires me to talk to new people every day? The reason is, I love writing! You may be rolling your eyes at this point, but this simple fact is that what makes me love my job.

I also know how you might feel as you walk into the Writing Center your first time, or maybe every time – shy, panicked, unsure, worried about being judged or failing in some way. Even if you are having a bad day where you feel like you just can’t make headway, I can help by giving you a fresh perspective on what you are working on, and give advice on different routes you could take as you continue working.

In the many writing classes I have taken, I have received some awful feedback that tore me down, but that is never the kind of feedback I will give to you. Even if I don’t know a whole lot about what your topic is, I will be able to give you advice that will help you recognize what could be clearer or what might not be working, and what you can do to improve. I am not here to criticize all the work you have already put into your writing, but instead to give you feedback that will help motivate you.

I hope I can help you in the future, and that you will leave the Writing Center feeling that you can conquer any writing issues you may be having!