1. Starting the Conversation
At Hotchkiss, we see the college process as an opportunity for reflection and growth. To help you consider the full range of opportunities available to you after graduation, your college advisor is committed to sharing an authentic advising relationship with you. This exercise begins that process.
Please answer the three prompts below. We ask that you write for thirty minutes in response to each bundle of questions. In this assignment, “perfect” is truly the enemy of “good.” In other words, focus on the act of writing—not drafting, editing, and outlining. Once the allotted time is up, stop wherever you are. Resist the temptation to revise what you’ve written. Instead, let your response stand as it is.
Who were you before you came to Hotchkiss? What sort of person have you become here?
What sort of person do you wish to be four years from now? How do you want to get there?
What does it mean to be an educated person? On the basis of your schooling thus far, what is the relationship between the process of becoming educated and the desired outcome of that process?
This exercise is a collective experience for Upper-Mids, and we look forward to the conversations it may prompt among you and your classmates. We expect that these conversations, in conjunction with the conversations this writing assignment will make possible with your college advisor, will help inform your approach to the college process—and also introduce you to the different kinds of thinking and writing involved in the application process. [As some of you recognize, some of the questions listed above will prompt story-telling, and others will prompt healthy struggles with abstract ideas. Both have their place.]
Please type your responses in a Word document and email them to your college advisor by February 20, 2012.
Welcome to a new period in your life. Thank you for the privilege of sharing this process with us.
Writing Prompt #2. The Interview
Imagine you have been assigned by a magazine to interview yourself. Devise five concise questions that, once answered, will give your readers a deep understanding of who you are at your core.
By May 5, email your college advisor five questions that you believe will elicit authentic and interesting responses. Below are two examples of stronger and weaker versions of similar questions:
1A: Describe a failure and what you learned from it?
1B: What role has failure played in your process of learning and personal growth?
Note: Because 1B cannot be answered by offering blanket conclusions, your response will need to illustrate and explain how you approached failure, processed it, managed it and used it for further growth. 1A, by contrast, might easily lead to the following (not too interesting) response: “I was cut from varsity lacrosse, and I learned that I needed to commit myself more fully to my goals.”
2A: Describe your greatest talents.
2B: How do you really know you’re good at what you’re good at?
Note: 2A may elicit a laundry list of superlatives (“I am a good writer”; “I am a strong listener”); 2B calls on you to explore your talents and think the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Your college advisor will either correspond with you or meet with you to offer you feedback on your questions. On May 22 and 24, you will be invited to workshops in which we will work together on how to respond to these questions.