Shining a spotlight on outstanding members of our community.
Like many other international students, I’ve previously experienced the more passive style of learning English, where students are expected to choose or put into the blank space one right answer. With time, we tend to focus only on answers right or wrong, and we get used to prioritizing correctness of the language over the need of voicing our opinion truthfully.
Personally, such obsession or fear further infiltrated my habit of doing research, where I often repeatedly used canned terms to hide beyond their authority, enjoying the feeling of asserting a kind of pseudo-correctness, which did not necessarily correspond to my own ideas. What this mindset neglected was that any writing or research, or even casual conversation, cannot be done without exploring and experimenting with various ideas, words, and phrases.
For me, working in the CEW allows for a mental space where I can learn to slow down that kind of obsession with notions of correctness and enjoy the process of conversation as an experiment. Rather than hurrying for the “answer,” I collaborate with our writers with mutual perspectives. The most precious lesson I learned as a member in the CEW is thus about courage. The courage to suspend that fear and obsession and faithfully go through a conversation. Real changes could then follow unexpectedly, and your own voice can begin to emerge.
The CEW was an indispensable part of Danny’s writing process. From brainstorming to final touches, and from preparing his conference presentations to refining his research manuscripts, the CEW consultants were there to help him with all facets of his academic writing. With the CEW consultants, Danny found ways to improve his delivery of ideas with their recommendations of better word choices and sentence structures. He also believes talking with the CEW consultants helped him find jumps in his arguments and holes in his logic that were difficult for him, as the writer, to detect.
“As a writer who experiences writer’s block even in writing emails, I relate to students who have difficulty in writing. I believe the CEW can be of great help to students, especially because they are in their critical stages when they have to practice conveying their ideas in words for their future professional careers.”
It is easy, he admits, to think that one’s writing is perfect and its logic seamlessly persuasive after successfully completing introductory English literature and composition in college. After all, most students have been writing in English during their entire lifetime. “However,” he points out, “as students drastically expand their knowledge in college, expressing their complex arguments and thoughts in a succinct, accurate, and cogent way soon looms large as a daunting task.” Danny stresses that the CEW is not only for the international students, but also for domestic students who can feel that uneasiness in college writing. For burgeoning student writers, Danny believes the CEW would be the place where they can approach their writing task with more ease with helpful tips and recommendations from the consultants from various fields of academia with years of experience on different types of writing!
Danny strongly believes that the CEW provides a preeminent service to the university community. In the short run, they can provide writing tips and recommendations to students to improve the essays at hand. “In the long run, however, the CEW essentially empowers students by equipping them with the necessary writing skills so that they can become better writers and do not repeat the same mistakes.” By helping students to become better writers, the CEW also facilitates productive classroom discussions and evaluations that bypass the unproductive quagmire of grammar and stylistic errors. According to Danny, with such benefits in mind, the CEW plays a vital role in making the UB a R1 research institute known for cultivating an intellectual group of young minds who are strong in their writing abilities – we at the CEW feel the same! “I strongly encourage student writers at all stages of their writing to visit the CEW to freely discuss their writing.”
To make their writing appointments with the CEW productive, Danny suggests student writers be prepared with what they want to discuss during their appointments. “From my experience, coming to the appointment with specific questions in mind has helped me and the CEW consultants to have a clear direction for discussions.”
Thanks, Danny, for sharing your experiences and advice with the CEW (and for your kind words!).
Danny JM Kim is a UB Presidential Fellow and a PhD candidate in Marketing in the School of Management. His research interest focuses on people’s use of animals and the oftentimes conflicting and discrepant underlying psychology of how people see and tread animals.