Introduction to "Student Writing"

Adults often ask me how college is going. As an introvert and awkward conversationalist, my answers are usually rather short. I mention a class I enjoy, say that I get along with my roommate, and remind them of my majors. I nod politely and smile. In most cases, we switch to another topic quickly. Winter break, which recently ended, is a prime time for such conversations.

Of course, my simple, routine responses do not come close to describing what college is like. College is a mess of stories and experiences. I’ve only been here for three semesters, and already I have so many memories. I could tell you about the time when my friends and I played hide and seek at midnight in the pouring rain. Or I could tell you about doing homework outside in a hammock with a friend squeezed in beside me. I could talk about grocery store runs and bad tests and late nights talking. These are the experiences that have shaped me.

This issue gives college students a chance to tell those stories, in whatever way they want to. The authors in this issue write about home, study abroad, changing identities, God, baptism, current events, and much more. It is not a comprehensive look into the mind of a college student, of course, but it’s a start. In addition, this issue includes an interview with EMU English Professor Chad Gusler. Many of the authors in this issue come from his class, so we wanted to ask him all about teaching college students how to write.

Finally, we decided to hold a writing contest for this issue and award $100 to the author of the best piece. After careful deliberation, we decided that the honor goes to Elizabeth Nisly and her piece "Incompetent Boys." Thank you to everyone who submitted pieces for publication. We’re honored that you gave us the chance to publish them. In addition, thank you to everyone who has encouraged college students like us to continue writing. We wouldn't be able to share our stories like this without you.

Note from Ann Hostetler:

We have featured undergraduate and graduate student work in two previous issues:

April 2013, Novemer 2011. They can be found by visiting our archives here

We will be publishing more issues devoted to student work in the future, but if you've got something great to share with us, don't wait. I'd love to read it. Send it to me as a word attachment with a brief bio identifying your Mennonite connection (school, family heritage, chosen faith, etc.) at anneh [at] goshen [dot] edu.

About the Author

Eli Reimer

Eli Reimer is a student at Goshen College, where they are double majoring in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies and Bible and Religion. They have written a number of devotionals for Rejoice!, they were recently published in The Mennonite. In their free time, Eli enjoys playing with their St. Bernard, Bonnie. They are currently the student assistant for the Center for Mennonite Writing.