In college you will be writing more than you ever have before. You will be writing for classes in and out of your major, not just your English classes.  The writing you are asked to complete will be more complex, require more advance preparation and more thought from you than high school writing.

To introduce you to the demands of this writing intensive environment, we are asking each incoming student to write a brief essay for our Blink Essay contest. This typed essay will also become a primary source for your ENL 101 instructor to evaluate your skills as a student-writer. (It is a chance for them to get to know you and your writing on the very first day of classes.)

Please bring a copy to the discussion groups at convocation and another to your first day of English 101: Critical Reading and Writing.

On the top left hand corner of your essay include,

            Your Name:

            Assignment:  First Year Summer Reading Essay Response   

            Date: The date the assignment is due (Orientation, September 6, 2011)

            Word Count: 225 – 250 words

Note: The due date for this essay was incorrectly published in the hard copy Reader’s (Study) Guide as September 1st.

Essay Prompt

Your Audience:  Your instructors and new classmates at UMD.  HINT: Remember that they have read the book.

Your Assignment:  Choose ONE of Gladwell’s key terms, such as thin slicing, priming, implicit bias or listening with your eyes (among others) and tell us about a personal experience that helps you understand this term.

To be effective in this assignment, you will want to BOTH define the term (quoting/ summarizing Gladwell) AND tell us how your experience helps us to understand the term. Describe your experience in a way that really brings that situation to life for your readers. Think as a reporter: Let your readers see, hear, taste, touch and smell.

This type of college writing assignment is called a “personal narrative.” As Andrea Lunsford explains in The Everyday Writer, “A narrative is an example that tells a story” (131). Lunsford advises that “you may have been told that your personal experience doesn’t count in making academic arguments.  If so, reconsider this advice, for showing an audience that you have relevant personal experience with a topic can carry a strong personal appeal …” (130; italics added).

HINT:  Email yourself a copy of your essay so you will have an additional copy should you need one.