Actual Letters to Themselves from Previous WRA135ers
[assignment] (names changed, of course)


Dear Simon,

You are going to find this hard to believe, but pay attention anyway. This is you from the future. How else would I know you secretly kiss your Detroit Tigers hat for good luck?

I do not have time to explain how this works. Just trust me. I’m writing to tell you the WRA135 class you are enrolled in is no walk in the park. Your future self, me, just finished it and is speaking from experience. Here is some advice. Pay attention to the achievement requirements, know all the deadlines, and check the “organic” schedule regularly. Adhering to these three simple rules is surprisingly difficult but will significantly help you through the class.

To get the most out of WRA135, see Professor Dowell EARLY in the semester about your writing. After all, it is a writing class. Lastly, get caught up on the technology issue right away. Going to Professor Dowell’s office hours to get the technology figured out will give you a good start and the ability to succeed.

Sincerely,
Simon
P.S. Getting behind in this class is not an option if you want a 4.0.


Dear Jennifer,

You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into: a semester of stress, worrying, learning, and accomplishment. Before you embark on this journey, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Know the class schedule like the back of your hand; he will change something the day before class. Keep all your WRA and SLWP projects in mind at all times; even though everything is due at the end of the semester, you need to work on it everyday. You will not have time for a social life, so get used to it. This will be a challenging class, but you will leave with a greater knowledge of writing and politics. It may seem like he is pushing you too hard and doesn’t care, but in actuality he is pushing you because he knows you are capable. Enjoy the class discussions, take the best notes of your life, and have fun with your presentation. Until next time … peace.


Dear Lulu,

If you really want to take this class, drop GEO206 early so you can get redeemed your money. Also, remember to use zip-drive and store everything saved on your AFS space to it. Before you take this class, be aware of what you want because it will interfere with what others will desire.

WRA135 will overlap your personal and social lives, but remember you will not be the only one working hard. This class will be the most time-consuming and stressful of the semester, but you will become a much better writer and critical thinker. Also learn to say “no” sometimes; others will take advantage of your willingness to do their work in order to succeed as a group.

Keep in mind that you are the only person who is in charge of your own life and desires. Try to enjoy what you learn, because these lessons will effect how you view others and will also teach you how to “read between the lines” (so to speak).

Oh, also remember to obey the four rules of prewriting.

Sincerely,
Future Lulu


Tommy,

To succeed in this class, you must set aside time to work on the various projects and writing assignments. Since most of the work is completed in a group, it’s important to work collaboratively. Working collaboratively does not just mean getting along with others; it requires the ability take constructive criticism, pull your own weight, and gather ideas. Throughout the semester you should stay informed about current events.

Working with YouVote requires up-to-date knowledge about politics. Deal with it.

You can’t conduct interviews, write essays, or work on projects without proper background information. This class is extremely stressful if the work is put off until the last minute. If you ever think you have nothing to do, it would be a good idea to work on WRA135 stuff, such as Journals. I also recommend you visit your professor early in the semester. Learning to write tightly will dramatically affect your performance and evaluation.


Hello

WRA135 is a most challenging class. It demands a great deal of self-motivation and commitment. I would not recommend it if you aren't fluent in English or are looking for an easy semester because, believe it or not, this class will take up most of your time. However, if your primary objective is learning, you could not find a better class. The professor is extremely passionate about this course and is very knowledgeable.

The most important thing in this class is to always be prepared. Keep up with the schedule and know what is coming up a week ahead. There are constant readings, pop-quizzes, and other jobs, so keeping up to task is mandatory. The note-taking habit is crucial since questions on the test are often based on what we've covered in class.

Although I struggled quite a lot with ESL issues throughout the semester, catching up and trying to finish all the materials required, it was a pleasant experience to be a part of this class.


Dear pre-WRA135 Rebecca,

WRA135 is a monster. It’s the kind that lives in your closet, making it impossible to close the door all the way. Sometimes you come home and find he’s overtaken your entire bedroom. However unthinkable, over time you develop an unusual friendship with the beast.

This class is not an easy A. It is absolutely vital to read and reread the schedule, otherwise there will be a lot of unpleasant surprises. Everything you need to know is on the class website. Pay special attention to the achievement requirements. Make sure to schedule a meeting with Professor Dowell early in the semester to review your writing.

The civil liberties project takes a long time; start early! You will have the same group for the SLWP project. Therefore, it is critical to choose your group very carefully as you will be spending a lot of time together.

Lastly, take good notes. You are responsible for anything and everything discussed in class. Notes can be used during exams. It is impossible to remember all the names mentioned in class without tedious notes. If you put in the time, you might even find yourself enjoying the monster.

Best of luck,
post-WRA135 Rebecca


Dear Charlie in the past,

I believe you just received your first e-mail from Prof. Dowell explaining what WRA135 is all about and containing a bunch of links to the class homepage to further explain himself. Do not just glance at his e-mail and links to say you "looked" at them. It will be very beneficial to you to browse the class homepage for a good deal of time. The homepage can clear up any confusion you have with WRA135 objectives or especially the service-learning project because it is quite harmful to your grade to be confused five weeks into the semester.

Do not blow off Prof. Dowell when he says WRA135 is more time-consuming and difficult than most courses at MSU. He was telling the truth. You cannot afford to waste time watching television or talking to friends online when you should be working on your webfolios or meeting with your group or writing in your Journal. Procrastination is the devil and I hope you don't find that out this semester. The class schedule will become your new friend that you should check on a couple times per week in order to prevent "surprises" during class.

Good Luck,
Charlie from the future


Dear Elenore,

To start off, you probably should switch sections because you have other important classes this semester that are going to need your attention. But if you do stay in WRA135, it will help you manage your time, work with others, write better, know more politics, and understand the importance of getting your work done on time.

Some simple words of advice: Do the readings, it will pay off when it comes to class and the exam. You will know what Professor Dowell and the rest of the class are talking about. In addition, you won’t have to guess on the pop quizzes during class and for the exam. Also you won’t have to read them all last minute or go by what someone else tells you.

As Professor Dowell will say, “Take more notes than you think you’ll need.” I would say that is the best advice you will ever get for this class.

Good Luck


Dear Timmy,

If I could tell myself anything before taking this class it would be that it will consume all of my time. I have never had so many group meetings before in my life. On the other hand, I learned a great deal about current events, working in groups, and writing with focus. I was introduced to Michael Moore and how parts of America are crumbling due to huge companies putting loads of people out of business.

This class was a huge eye-opener. We had so much work to complete but everything we needed to do in class may become useful down the road in life. This class also makes you manage your time well and makes you keep on top of things; I was continuously checking the website and constantly making sure everything was up to date.

To this end, Timmy, always lock your door when it’s work time … and don’t get caught, especially on camera, for stupid shit.

Good luck. Peace.

Sincerely,
Timmy


Dear Buzz,

It’s me from the future to warn you about what’s ahead in your WRA 135 class. When Professor Dowell tells you this class will be challenging, he’s not kidding. This class will be the most demanding you have faced in your educational experience thus far. The fun part is that an assignment will require you to make a commercial, which you will direct. Also you will come out of the class with a new group of friends. Sadly, this class will also be very stressful and will consume a whole lot of your time because you will have so much work to do. Buzz, to prevent some of this stress, please follow the schedule and know what’s coming ahead. This class is what you make it. If you put a lot of work into it, you will get a lot out of it. Study hard, see Prof Dowell early and often, and learn the Rubric, and you will be just fine.

Good Luck


Dear Handsome,

This is you from the future writing to warn you about time management for this class. My main advice would be to read the stinking schedule! It tells you everything you’re doing, will be doing, and have already done. It, the Rubric, and the handbook are the most useful tools in WRA135.

Do not waste your time! This class is worth four credits, though it should be worth five, due to the amount of work doing the various projects, essays, and readings. Be sure to get the readings done before class because you may be quizzed on the material. If you do all the required reading and take good notes on them, the pop quiz points should be a “fluff” grade, meaning they are easy to get if you do what you’re told.

My last bit of advice is to make sure you are your group's “Moe.” You might not know what that is yet, but trust me. I wasn’t in charge and some stuff didn’t go as perfectly as I would have liked.

Remember: Have fun, crack is whack, and don’t go on a second date with the crazy chick you’re going to meet in March.


<http://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/135/LettersFromTheFuture.html>