“A blank page is terrifying…”
“The last time I wrote a paper, the year started with 19 not 20…”
“Friends often ask me to proofread their papers; I love helping people’s ideas come through the written word…”
“Am I supposed to already know what Chicago Style means?”
Are any of these thoughts familiar? Entering a graduate program involves a lot of transition, and for many students, academic writing can feel like a daunting hill to ascend or a muscle that hasn’t been worked in a long time. Maybe you’re a confident writer but would like some help navigating the integrative type of assignments you’ll be asked to write at The Seattle School. However you’re feeling as the fall term approaches, I invite you to consider being a part of the first-year Writing Workshop.
My name is Dr. Kj Swanson, an affiliate theology faculty member here at The Seattle School. I am also the Common Curriculum Coordinator and I supervise the team of Assistant Instructors, whom you will get to know well this year. Co-leading the Writing Workshops is one of the neatest things I get to do in my work at this school, and I hope you’ll be a part of it.
The Writing Workshop is recommended for all, regardless of your confidence level as an academic writer. While all the writing you will do at The Seattle School requires technical competence, much of it asks for a high level of personal engagement and research synthesis as well. The workshop is designed to familiarize you with the rhythms of research, writing, and editing that you’ll do in your time as a student here. And more than that, the workshop provides space to experiment with and explore study methods and sustainable work habits to help you re-calibrate your previous academic experience towards the often unexpected dynamics that come with graduate level study. The purpose of the workshop is as much about adjusting to graduate school as it is about refreshing your memory on thesis statements.
We offer two sections of Writing Workshops: Section 1 before classes begin, and Section 2 during the fall term, both offered synchronously online. While both workshops cover the same material, the Fall Weekly Workshop provides space to discuss and peer review assignments for your classes while they are happening; the Pre-Fall Workshop often appeals to folks who want a reorientation towards academic work before classes begin.
The Fall Weekly Workshop is led by Kelsey Wallace, Associate Registrar at The Seattle School and the primary academic advisor for all of our students. You have probably already received numerous emails from her! She loves journeying with students throughout their time in the program and has lots of experience as a writing and academic skills coach.
Whichever section you join, you will be challenged, have fun, and leave with tools, techniques, and the confidence to overcome the glorious mountain of writing ahead!
Section 1: Pre-Fall Workshop
10:00 am-1:00 pm PDT–online
Monday, August 22
Wednesday, August 24
Monday, August 29
Wednesday, August 31
Section 2: Weekly Fall-Term Workshop
3:00pm-5:00 pm PDT–online
Wednesdays, beginning first week of classes
What to Expect
- Brainstorming exercises that generate paper topics or help you see what you’re saying between the lines.
- Self-guided modules on citation styles, essay structure, etc., that you can return to and reference throughout your Fall term, in addition to workshop time together.
- Discussion around your methods of writing and how what you’re doing now may help or hinder your process at The Seattle School (i.e. Do you make outlines? How much time do you give yourself to write? How do you give yourself breaks from writing?). A word to the wise: taking breaks for restorative, creative activity is the best way to avoid the dreaded “writer’s block.”
- Approaches and opportunities for Peer Review. Hopefully the work you do sharing your words and hearing the words of others will go with you as part of your process here. It is vulnerable to let others into your writing, and a layered beauty often comes if you will take the risk.
The Writing Workshop was an immensely helpful space to refresh on academic writing and meet peers from my cohort before the term started. I still reference my notes from the workshop every time I am forming thesis statements for papers. Also, I met a great writing partner and we have been peer reviewing/editing each other’s work all throughout our first year.
—Carson Taylor, 2nd year MATC student