jewels of student wisdom


“I work in a work of art.”  That’s what I told somebody last week.  And it’s true. This is an amazing campus.  An amazing building.  Beautiful, extraordinary. Compared to any other campus in the area… well, there is no comparison.  There are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who would love to have these kinds of views.  The president and her staff took inside offices, leaving the extraordinary views and wraparound windows for us to enjoy.  What a noble, student-centered idea.  This campus is unique, inspiring.

Keeping with that inspiration, I would like to keep this grammar column positive.  So many columns deal with the DON’Ts of English grammar: don’t do this, don’t do that.  Rather, I’d like to share with you some good examples of student writing, what I call “jewels of student wisdom.”  These are just some little phrases and expressions that have stuck with me over the years.

I remember one student who wrote about putting up a storage shed on a windy day.  There were some “chaotic instructions” which warned “assemble before use.” She called it a “Chevy Chase event.” You can imagine how that turned out.  Another student remembers the “pealing of the bells” and “smoke-stained streets” from her childhood, and “children’s laughter like a sudden flutter of bird’s wings.” There was another student who wrote about “thought soup,” “unwanted advances,” and “suburban wives.” I’ll let you put that one together.  There was a beautiful essay about a woman driving a Chevrolet Celebrity, with “smoke drifting up in ribbons between her fingers” and a “left turn blinker blinking white.” The writer says, “She went right on red. I went left instead.”

One student writes about visiting a beach, where “the salt begins to cling to my skin” and “the sand is heavy, and it is difficult to walk.” “My heart feels pulled by the water,” she remembers.  There was a story about a pigeon’s life in New York City, “being a bird, flying over America, seeing the Statue of Liberty from above, and pooping on the cars of politicians.” Another student has sad memories of childhood: cutting pictures out of catalogs for gifts he’s never going to receive, the smell of his grandpa’s pipe tobacco, and “snow falling like a lullaby.” There was an antique store that was like a time machine. The student calls them “museums of the sellable past,” where there is an “old lady with cotton candy hair.”  A fall day with “wind chasing leaves down the street.” Grandpa’s funeral, “a gray day like ashes.” Another “tries to be sexy; the heater is hotter.”

Students are amazing writers. And their openness and willingness to share is heartwarming. That’s why we are opening up future issues of this publication to examples of great student writing.  If you have any great student writing that you would like to share, contact us at the number below.


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