Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Essay for a Netbook

Tell Us How Our Libraries Have Impacted Your Madison College Learning Experience

As a non-traditional student, I am taking my education far more seriously than I did as a traditional student. I am stimulated by the environment and frequently challenged by the class work. I find myself putting more effort into studying and taking pride in being a part of this community. However, I did not start out feeling this way. I had been out of school for many years when I found myself sitting at my computer reflecting on my college days as a traditional student and nervously tapping my pencil, wondering what my on-line class would be like. I was riddled with anxiety about my ability to do well. It was the library system that both supported and pushed me to do better, thus opening the door for an extremely positive educational experience.

The catalyst for exploring the library and its resources came in the form of an assignment. I was to work with a small group of students to produce a well written paper dissecting the weaknesses and strengths of an employee handbook. The logistics seemed overwhelming at first and the three of us bitterly complained about how unfair this assignment was for an on-line class. Finally, we accepted the reality that we would need to find a way to make it work. The library provided a convenient place for everyone to meet to share opinions and knowledge. There were ample easily accessible materials that supported our ideas and the overarching project. It was a very positive experience and I continued to use the library as a meeting ground for other groups.

It wasn’t until my third or fourth class that I was asked to write a paper alone. Having always had the support of a group, I found myself feeling uncertain of my ability to write a paper outside of the team effort I had come to rely on. I spoke of this to a classmate I had worked on previous projects with and he told me about the wonderful experiences he had with the writing center. I made an appointment. The writing center staff was extremely professional and knowledgeable. This service proved to be invaluable to the writing of that paper and to my self-confidence as a capable student in every area.

I began visiting the library to look through additional reading materials teachers had recommended or articles they had placed on hold. It became a home away from home, one I would visit when I was early for class or when class ended early and I wasn’t ready to go back to my house. I started reading more, learning beyond what was expected of me. I became addicted to research and my personal library at home began to fill up with genres besides fiction. I am quick to share these resources with others. In that sense, the MATC library has made it possible for my experience with education to extend beyond the boundaries of the campus and learning community.

The library system was central to helping me build the confidence I needed to succeed academically, providing materials and space essential to supporting a quality education, and making it possible for students to learn beyond what a classroom can offer by encouraging social relationships through common interests and goals. All of these things combined have made my Madison learning experience the absolute best anyone can expect.

*** This is for a real contest. I don't know that this will be the final draft, but as I have less than 24 hours to 'fix' it, I doubt much more will be done to it. Oh.. the rules real quick: the title is the prompt, must be between 500-600 words. That pretty much sums it up. If you read my blog, please leave feedback in the comment section! I need your help! ***


  1. This well-written piece sounds like an Ode to the MATC Library (and Writing Center) or something! You went from being nervous about not being a traditional student to having the absolute best learning experience anyone can expect. It flows nicely how you described that transition. I like this. Good entry. Good luck!

  2. I saw it and you got all my feed back before I hope you win.

  3. On the off chance anyone goes back and reads this entry, I won off of this draft!