Rachelle Fer­guson



Per­sonal blunder of paper writing: I need­lessly repeat myself when I write: I’ll make a point and then restate the point in dif­ferent words, imag­ining that I’m adding some­thing new. (Sort of like I just did.) I think the root of this issue is that I’m not as precise as I should be with the logic of my argument. In my editing process, I have to go back through my draft with a more math­e­matical, less wan­dering mind, eval­u­ating the exact purpose of each sen­tence. Then I can cut what is unnec­essary and make the whole paper more concise and effective.


Main tutoring advice: Write inten­tionally. Know the structure of your paper, and let the reader see your design. Every para­graph (every word, actually) should be there for a unique reason.


Best class taken at Hillsdale: I think my favorite class so far has been Great Books II with Assistant Pro­fessor of English Lor­raine Eadie. She picked amazing lit­er­ature for us to study “Hamlet,” “Great Expec­ta­tions,” “House­keeping,” and more, and truly inspired me in the way that she revealed the pro­found beauty of each work. (That said, I’m cur­rently taking Later Shake­speare from Pro­fessor of English Smith, and that class is moving by leaps and bounds to the top of my favorites list. There’s nothing quite like soaking in the majesty of Shakespeare’s tragic solil­o­quies and then watching Prof. Smith mag­i­cally unveil fourteen layers of meaning behind the words.)


Favorite movie: Cranford



Debbie Stevenson


Per­sonal blunder of paper writing: Once upon a time (ok, maybe last week), Debbie set out on her semes­terly quest to capture The Uni­verse, or at least a galaxy, and lead it home on a 15-page leash. Pre­dictably, the uni­verse escaped her clutches, and a rather deflated Debbie sank back to earth with a rein­forced respect for the uni­verse, but no paper to show for it. Then one day, (yes­terday actually) while walking with eyes on the ground, she hap­pened to notice tiny dew­drops sparkling in the grass. Upon looking closer, what should she dis­cover but that there are galaxies in dew­drops, too! (And dewdrop galaxies are much friendlier to 15-pagers). So Debbie learned for the umpteenth time that smaller is better. The lovely thing about the uni­verse is that it’s fractal: you won’t miss any­thing by looking closer.  


Main tutoring advice: Good writing is basi­cally clear thinking on paper. All those fancy styl­istic flour­ishes come later (and only if they actually help you get your point across better).  


Best class taken At Hillsdale: One of my favorites has been Phi­losophy of Edu­cation with Pro­fessor of Edu­cation Jon Fennel. It’s basi­cally a friendly monster that chews up every­thing you thought you knew about epis­te­mology and spits it back out. In a good way.


Favorite movie: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy.