Pick Your Own Topics!


Yes, in college you’re going to have to write. A lot.

For me, that’s good news. I’d rather write a paper than do a science experiment or math problems or take a multiple-choice exam. But I’ve done all of those here, and I turned out just fine. So you’ll survive college writing, too!

But don’t freak out just yet. There are tons of ways that Transy helps you ease into academic writing. We have a wonderful Writing Center that Dorcas has already posted about (click here if you missed it).

You’ll also learn everything you need to know about college writing in your August term class. More on that later; it’s exciting enough for its own post.

Throughout your college career, from your First Year Research Seminar (FYRS) to Senior Seminar (they just sound so official, don’t they?!), you’ll be learning how to write in all kinds of formats and genres.

But in most cases, you’ll get to pick what those research papers, essays, and other writing assignments are about. You may have to write a science paper about an alternative energy source, but you pick which one. Or a response to an essay you read in a Perspectives on Literature class, but you could pick the essay and decide how you felt about it.

For bigger research projects you have even more freedom. In your FYRS class, you can write on just about anything. You pick the class section that best fits with your interests and then you’ll pick your own paper topic. The same is true for upper-level classes as well.

In my Intro to Classical Rhetoric class, Dr. Whiddon halfway jokingly suggested that we pick something we’re borderline obsessed with for our final papers because we’d be working on the projects for about six weeks. Great advice, because otherwise you’ll be sick of the topic by the time you turn in your stellar paper.

For that paper, we had to use terms and concepts from the course to analyze any rhetorical artifact and I looked at the website for TOMS Shoes. I wrote about how the used the emotional appeals of their “One for One” model to sell products.

The next semester, I took Readings in Rhetorical Criticism, which is basically the Rhetoric II to the intro-level I took before, also with Dr. Whiddon. We did a similar project, using a method of rhetorical criticism to look at any artifact, and I picked the TOMS website again, along with other “One for One” companies, Two Degrees and Ark Collective. Totally different papers, same level of fascination.

I could go on and on and on about these projects because I really was super interested before. Now that I’ve done more research and written two papers on them, I think I’ve reached the borderline-obsessed level. Like, did you know there’s a term for companies like TOMS that use a cause to market a product? It’s called philanthrocapitalism. You’re welcome.

The point is, yes you’ll be writing a lot in college. But at Transy, you’ll be writing about things you’re passionate about because you get to choose what to research, and that makes all the work more enjoyable!