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It’s that time of the year again: the first week of classes. Things look a bit different this year with the current pandemic situation, as the majority of classes are now remote. Many students are starting off the year with Zoom calls and asynchronous classes. On Tuesday, we had our first English 105 class of the year via Zoom. Students phoned in from many different locations to start of the semester, whether it be dorms on campus or their own households.

The first class this week consisted of an overview of the course and the syllabus. Many students want to come out of this class as better writers and enhance their skills for the rest of college. The majority of this first class consisted of syllabus overview. While it wasn’t the most exciting topic, it was crucial for success in the class, as the syllabus is going to be a lifeline for the course. If you have a problem or a question, there is a very high probability that the syllabus has the answer. We will be writing in a variety of fields this semester, with the first being the natural sciences. There was also time to get to know one another in our new small groups. The groups consist of Five Golden Rings, Small Town, Writing Wizards, and Fantastic Four.

Our first readings for the class consisted of chapters from the Tar Heel Writing Guide and a short article called “Shitty First Drafts.” The information from THWG will be valuable for the first writing assignment in the natural sciences. It gave great information on how to read scientific articles and how writing in the natural sciences varies from typical writing some may be accustomed to seeing. “Shitty First Drafts” discussed the importance of word vomit and getting thoughts out and onto paper. These readings are a foundation for the rest of the class and will serve as building blocks for future assignments.

In our second class of the week, there was lots of discussion and writing activities. We discussed the readings from the week, and then we put some of the methods to use. In our small groups we worked through a process of creating rhetorical situations, which will come in handy for the first writing assignment. We created these rhetorical situations through a reverse process, which will be an effective tactic as we begin our drafts for the first composition in the natural sciences.

This week of welcome was certainly unlike any we have seen before, and it will definitely be memorable for most of us here at UNC. One key takeaway from this week is that when in doubt, you should read the syllabus. Another tip is that it’s okay to have a really rough first draft. Lastly, working backwards works best when creating rhetorical situations. These tips will be crucial for success in the class moving forward. English 105 is already off to a fantastic start despite the challenges being faced with this ongoing pandemic. The first feeder assignment is due this week with more Zoom classes on the way. Welcome back Tar Heels and remember to practice the 3 W’s!


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