Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stepping Outside My Academic Comfort Zone

            When I was a high school student learning about BC, I heard a lot about how BC helps students get outside their comfort zone. During my freshman year, this certainly happened in a lifestyle sense. I moved far away from home for the first time, met amazing new friends and defeated my move-in fears to make BC my beloved home-away-from-home. However, there was one area in which I didn’t leave my comfort zone in the same radical way: classes. Sure, my classes were more challenging than ever before and I grew tremendously as a student while having a ton of fun, but it wasn’t until recently, during my sophomore fall semester, that my limits were profoundly tested by a creative writing class.
            Even before I applied to BC, I knew that I wanted to pursue creative writing as a course of study and hopefully a career path. I had written fiction novels in high school, but while I was very serious about my work, I shared it with very few people outside my immediate family. I wasn’t ready for that until this semester, when my time came in the form of my short-story Writing Workshop class. Going in, I knew the class had a very relaxed structure with no real writing “assignments,” just a powerful sense of mutual accountability between students and our amazing professor. I also knew that several times over the course of the semester, I would need to give a story to classmates, who would discuss it in class. I felt apprehensive about this type of exposure, but since I love writing, I took the plunge.
            Fortunately, I had already met the professor, and his humorous but passionate teaching style helped me feel comfortable as I signed up for the second day of story critiques before I could lose my nerve. When it came time for my critique, I actually enjoyed it a lot. At the risk of sounding sappy, I’d say it was a dream-come-true to open up about a story and see fourteen other smart young writers actively engaging with it. It means the world to me to be immersed in a group that treats our art as something that really matters.

            Halfway through the semester, I can say that the class has been one of my favorites at BC so far, and that my love for creative writing is now stronger than ever. Most of all, I appreciate how the class has made my aspirations as a writer much more real while also showing me with extreme honesty just how much I can still grow. Through this class, I’ve gained perspective on how much I needed to break free from my comfort zone as a writer––and also how BC’s challenges consistently enable me and other students to chase our full potential wherever our interests may lie.

-Ross Tetzloff '17

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