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Only at Vanderbilt: A Class Full of Tap-Dancing, Fashion, and Symbiosis

Posted by on Thursday, December 11, 2014 in Academics, Blog, College Life, Communications, Creative Writing, Diversity, Exams, Extracurriculars, Finals, Freshman Life, General Information, Nashville, Professors, Student Life, Teachers.

“The Art of Blogging: Learning How to Write and Think In The Age of Self-Publishing”

Pretty cool, right?

The Art of Blogging 201W went from being an e-mail about a new course to one of the most enriching, humbling experiences I have had at Vanderbilt. Sure, I signed up for it because I’m interested in journalism and needed a 200W requirement (shout out to you, AXLE), but it’s the small classes like these at Vanderbilt that truly make you a better writer and community member.

This course promised an opportunity for creativity. What this course didn’t promise was being the only freshman in a room of incredibly diverse writers and an insanely accomplished professor. I thought I was a decent freestyle writer before coming to Vanderbilt—I quickly learned that nobody sitting around that table was “decent” and that just wouldn’t come close to cutting it anymore.

Professor Amanda Little

Each week we would be assigned reading about the blogging world and a roughly 1,000 word freestyle post. This seemingly liberal task was difficult to say the least. Come up with a piece about fashion that interests a broad group of brilliant upperclassmen every week? I struggled. It was definitely a jump from my high school writing assignments.

What kept me in the class wasn’t that the drop-adding period had come and gone weeks ago (no, I swear), but the three hours with my classmates that continuously blew my mind with their work.

Everyone chose a different topic to create a blog about depending on his or her interests. The blogs ranged from the relevance of tap dancing to symbiosis to memoirs—I could gush on. I chose fashion. Yes, I was assigned to write about something I love. Life was good in the blogosphere.

The header of my fashion blog (my classmates' blogs were much more aesthetically pleasing)

It wasn’t until the final day of presentations during finals week (yes, 18 minute Ted Talks) that I realized my fourteen-person class had truly become a tight-knit family. They had turned from a group of influential, random strangers that scared me **scared me a lot** to friends that I’d truly miss every Wednesday evening.

Although 200 person lectures are a necessary evil, I encourage everyone who earns the opportunity to engage in the Vanderbilt community to take a small writing class. You’ll get to know peers that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Thanks to Professor Amanda Little and my new friends, my Vanderbilt writing career is off in the right direction.