|WRT 105: Jumpstart Essay|
Think back to your first encounters with Syracuse University: a Fall Friday visit with your parents, perhaps, or a weekend with an older brother or sister already here, or the promotional brochures you received in the mail, or surfing SU's website.
As in any first meeting, you jumped to conclusions, made comparisons, judged the architecture and greenery and layout of the campus, liked or didn't like the student guide, liked or didn't like others on your tour. You also had questions - what are classes like? how hard will they be? is it really a party school? will I get to pick my dorm? will I be happy here? will I fit in? is this the right place for me? how do I know?
Then you arrived on opening weekend, and amid the chaos of meeting your roommates, getting unpacked, figuring out your schedule, locating classroom buildings, going to a party or two, you reached more conclusions. You started to feel at ease (or not), to make friends (or at least find a group to go to dinner with), and to form a deeper understanding of this place. You started to notice too places where you felt more comfortable or more invited or safer than other places - that is, as always, you noticed the geographies of inclusion and exclusion.
Imagine how much those feelings and understandings will deepen over the four years you are here!
For now, and for this first essay, you will explore the geography of SU - its buildings, its layout, its social atmospheres, its patterns of inclusion and exclusion - as a first year student, new to the campus, ever changing in your perceptions. For example
In class you will read and discuss an excerpt from the "Introduction" to Geographies of Exclusion by David Sibley, and an essay by a SU graduate student, "(Un)straightening the SU landscape."
You will invent ideas for your essay - that is, you will make observations, write descriptions, tell stories, look for patterns, and draw conclusions - by doing a number exercises in class and as homework. Feel free to visit the Writing Center (HBC) to discuss your ideas with a consultant, or for response, feedback, and advice on a draft.
You will draft the essay (5 double-spaced pages, word processed, 12 point font) and submit it on September 17.
 Did the writer provide a title that provocatively and productively focused the reader's attention?
 Did the writer organize the essay effectively, with a focusing idea, thesis, or umbrella claim, and with good transitions between sections?
 Did the writer provide a rich, detailed description of the site, or recreation of the interview, or narrative of the key event?
 Did the writer develop claims about the kind of 'place' SU is - at least from the perspective of a first year student?
 Did the writer make connections between theory and observation by citing Sibley?
 Did the writer make things explicit (e.g., details, not generalizations; claims, not clichés)?
 Did the writer edit for grammar, style, and usage effectively?