Students struggle with staying true to themselves in a few different ways: allowing fear to cripple their writing, becoming a cocky writer, plagiarizing, and thinking too much about their writing. More issues exist in students’ writing, but these are a few that I would like to highlight in this blog post.
The first article that I found discusses how you should not allow fear to cripple your writing. Whatever the fear stems from, whether it’s in writing, in confidence, or in communication in general, remember why you wanted to start this journey in the first place. This also applies to people from many different phases of life: undergraduate students, graduate students, doctoral students, and even post-graduate students. If a large part of your life is writing, you more than likely have fear built up in some area. Be careful not to allow this to stop you anywhere in your life – especially your writing. For instance, look at #5 in this article. Just like it says, be sure you write, and continue to do so.
Becoming a cocky writer is easy for anyone to do, especially if you are continually receiving praise for your good works. Yes, of course you want to enjoy being in the spotlight every once in a while, and you want to feel accomplished and important; however, know that there is a difference between being confident and being cocky. The act of being cocky would be closer to what #3 says in the article above: be careful not to become someone who is too demanding or a “diva.” In order to remain humble, I suggest setting certain standards for yourself that are challenges to you. Of course you want them to be reachable goals, but making them challenging for yourself will give you that sense of accomplishment. Once you meet your first goal, make another goal so that you can continue to strive for better.
Any form of plagiarizing is dangerous, whether you copy and paste from another source, use another author’s ideas, or fail to give credit to an author for his/her words. Some students aren’t sure how to avoid plagiarizing in these ways, but you can always research what plagiarism is in order to avoid it. This site has many different resources of how you can stay true to yourself, such as giving you different citation styles to use, providing expert advice through frequently asked questions, and showing you other helpful resources.
A few ways that students can think too much about their writing are using a thesaurus, writing long sentences, and repeating concepts in different ways. By using a thesaurus, many people are tempted to use the longest word that they can find. What some don’t realize, however, is that even though some words are similar in meaning, synonyms do not always mean the exact same thing. Even as a graduate student, you should not feel as though you need to impress anyone with your writing, so also try not to write only long sentences that repeat the same concepts again and again.
As a student, it can be difficult to hear different voices around you saying “be yourself when you write,” especially if you respect each of the voices you hear. After hearing certain pieces of advice, ask yourself if they match up with your successful writings you’ve done in the past or if it would completely change who you are as a writer. Then, you’ll want to think about the tips that I’ve given you in this blog. You’ll also want to read over our article on staying true to yourself in your writing.