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Tuesday, October 25, 2016 Mistakes are Allowed

I took twelve credits my first college semester, but I was most nervous about my English class. As a homeschool student entering the public academic sphere for the first time, I had no idea whether my writing skills would survive college standards. I knew my writing needed improvement, but I did not know where I made mistakes, let alone how to make corrections. College-level writing was a huge animal, and I had no idea how to wrangle it.

After two years of being a writing coach, I can attest that I often meet with students who are experiencing the same reservations that I had my first semester. If you don’t have a mastery of writing mechanics, let me suggest that it is okay to make mistakes. When I started my first English class, I was afraid to receive graded papers because of what they would reveal about my lack of knowledge. However, that is the whole point of red ink. If I was nervous because I did not know how to write, then feedback on a paper was exactly what would take away my fear. By having my mistakes pointed out and explained, I knew where to direct effort in order to improve. Locating my weaknesses was the step I needed.

Learning to write is not an impossible task. The students I work with may have some blind spots, but I have never encountered anyone who could not at least put words on a page. It is very likely that some aspects of writing are natural to you, while a few others are your weaknesses. Whether you struggle with using punctuation, constructing sentences, generating ideas, or anything else, your skills can be improved. Be encouraged when writing feels difficult. Learning is a process you can succeed in.

Cory Coogan is an interdisciplinary studies major with an emphasis on linguistics and Biblical languages. He works as a writing coach at Liberty's Undergraduate Writing Center. 

Posted at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)
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