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Class Considerations

Most of my choices in classes are based around English. I’ve always loved reading and writing, and have always favored classes related to that. If you’re thinking about joining a creative writing class at NDSU, I would highly recommend any and all of them: Intro to Creative Writing, Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Creative Writing Studio. They are all great classes that have taught me a lot more than I ever thought there was to know about creative writing.

Try to Expand your Repertoire- do things that are outside of your comfort zone, and choose a topic that interests you and allows you to expand your current knowledge and skill set. I used to be someone who loved writing, but only if it was fiction. I had this mindset that nonfiction was boring because real life was boring, at least in comparison to different worlds and the escapism that fiction writing allowed me. I also loved reading poetry, but thought that I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have any ideas about how to write in a way that was beautiful, short, and had so much more meaning than I could ever comprehend.

However, I realized that the way things are written can make even the mundane moments seem exhilarating. As for poetry, it’s all about perception. The audience probably views the poem in hundreds of different ways because they don’t know the true meaning of what the author is trying to say. Or, the author uses figurative language in a way that makes the poem more than just the surface level. How someone else views your writing, shouldn’t be taken into consideration. Well… Maybe it should be, but don’t not write something just because you think people won’t get it. Or if you think they’ll get something out of it that wasn’t originally intended- think of it as a good thing. People derive meaning or lack of meaning based on their own perception, just like the author probably got something completely different out of the same piece just by writing it.

In terms of specific classes, I have enjoyed all of the English courses that I’ve taken at NDSU. Jamee Larson and Brady Bergeson have taught the majority of my creative writing classes, and both of these teachers are amazing! They both have so much passion and knowledge about writing, and make all of their classes enjoyable. Jamee Larson also happens to be the advisor of Literary Publications, and if you have the chance, I recommend all of the courses with Jamee. I’ve had Literary Publications, Creative Writing Studio, and Creative Nonfiction with Jamee as the professor. Brady is also a fantastic professor, and I learned so much from the Scriptwriting course that he’s taught. I’ve had a couple of other classes with Brady as well, but the Scriptwriting class was something that I hadn’t really considered taking before. I mainly just took it because it was a creative writing course, and I figured “why not?”, but I never really expected to enjoy the class as much as I did because I didn’t really think that scriptwriting was for me. I cannot express enough how much fun and enjoyment all of these classes have brought to me. I’ve always loved to read and write, but somehow these professors know how to bring out a depth and substance to my writing that wasn’t there before, at least that I noticed.

If you’re looking to expand your literature knowledge and content- any course with Verena Theile is absolutely phenomenal! The course work seems a bit much at times- there’s a lot of books or works to read in the time of a single semester, but if you’re dedicated to reading and want to read as much as possible, this is definitely a professor that can give you that. I’ve taken 3 courses with Dr. Theile: Shakespeare, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Young Adult Literature, and I would definitely take more courses if I could. The round-robin style of conversations is a great way to speak your opinions and hear from a lot of other people as well.

Whatever classes you choose to take, especially in the English Department, you’ll probably have a lot more fun than you think you will. I know sometimes you don’t get your top choice for classes. Even in your creative writing elective courses, you might have to take poetry over fiction or vice versa and think that it’s not something that you’d enjoy, but my advice is to keep an open mind. You don’t have to enjoy every aspect of a genre, but a lot of times, genres are a lot more connected than we originally think about.

-Caitlin Barnard

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