Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Adventures of a Freshman ILA Major

By Corinne Spisz

As an Integrated Language Arts Education
(ILA) major, life at Ashland University involves a lot of writing. I am constantly writing drafts, re-reading and editing. I know now to think, always, about transition sentences, a strong, solid thesis statement, and the need for imagery. Looking over my papers from the beginning of the semester to the end, I am amazed at how far I have come as a writer, especially in poetry. I may only be a freshman but the skills I learned in the fall semester are preparing me for my upper-level courses and for my future profession as an English teacher. The English department at AU is extraordinary. My professors have explained each topic well and I feel comfortable teaching those skills already. Yet, there are things I wish I knew before beginning my first semester. 

I wish I knew that there would be times when I would be able to write four pages in an hour, and others days that I would have to take a walk around campus, to clear my mind over a draft paper I was working on. I wanted to know that writing a sonnet would be a lot more difficult than it sounds, but not entirely impossible. Or, that someone would have told me the department takes trips to Cleveland to see plays like King Lear performed at the Hanna Theatre; and you and other students will be able to sit with professors after the show and discuss it over dinner. Or even, that my creative writing prose section class would go to Pizza Hut at the end of the semester. I would have desired to know that observations for the education classes are fun, but at the same time, the observations are difficult because I cannot interact with the students yet. I would have wanted to know how amazing the professors at Ashland University are. That they are able to catch your mistakes and talk you through how to fix them. How each class is enjoyable to go to all because these professors are dedicated to their students. Unlike at larger universities, I am not on my own during this journey; I have professors who care. Lastly, I wish I knew how fun this ILA major is. Everyday I wake up excited for my classes, ready to see what I learn that day. When you study what you love, everyday is welcomed with excitement and one day closer to accomplishing your dreams. 

Deciding to major in Integrated Language Arts Education and attending Ashland University was the best decision I have made. My first semester was full of fun, growth and challenges. I cannot wait to see what the next seven semesters hold.