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Student stories to inform and inspire you

We know how powerful it is for you to hear from other students about how they faced academic obstacles and overcame them to persevere and graduate. You can hear the same advice from faculty or staff members but it does not have the same resonance as when you hear it from a fellow student. So we are collecting student stories about learning at IU on this page to help other students who may be facing a similar problem or need advice about how to approach a particular issue.

Hannah’s Story:  Connecting with Faculty for Research and Feedback

I wanted to publish the fictional novel I planned to write for my Honors Senior Thesis, but I didn’t know anything about getting a book published. I also hadn’t shared the book with anyone, so it hadn’t gone through any sort of revision process. I knew that I would need some sort of help with both revisions and going about finding a publisher, so I asked an English faculty member I knew well if she would be willing to assist me. The faculty member read through the first 5 chapters of my book and gave me feedback for revisions. I worked through her feedback and revised those first several chapters before meeting with her again for another feedback session. The faculty member provided more feedback on my work and instructions to research things related to my story to make sure that it would be believable. I conducted the necessary research and completed more revisions based on what I found, and I then sent my work to the faculty member for her approval. After getting some feedback for revisions on the rest of the book, I proceeded with those final revisions before seeking out a publisher. 

I learned a lot about writing and editing fictional work during this process. I realized that fiction has to possess a certain level of believability for it to be enjoyed, and I was able to do major revisions that improved my story immensely. I had never gone through such a rigorous feedback and revision process before, and I learned how to accept criticism and make changes that I didn’t necessarily agree with at first that made my story better in the end. I was also able to find a publisher where I self-published my book, which was another learning experience in itself.

I think that all students should have the opportunity to work with a faculty member on a special project if they want to. This isn’t necessarily realistic for everyone at every campus, but it never hurts to ask a faculty member to be a mentor on a class-specific project or even a professional project outside of class.

My main takeaway from this experience is that outside feedback is extremely valuable, and even if that feedback seems harsh or wrong, it’s important to take it into consideration without getting defensive or thinking that my work isn’t good enough.

Submit YOUR story!

We’d like to hear from you! IU is collecting student stories about learning to share with other students on social media and the IU webpages. We are particularly interested in how you learned to study effectively, grow professionally, and create belonging at IU. Your story could be about how you struggled and solved a problem. It could be about how you worked with a professor to develop your research skills or how you worked with other students to master course material. Please consider sharing your learning story with us. Your story could inspire others!

Submit your story