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For this essay, I decided to be productive and get right on things. When you announced that we should start deciding on a book for The Freshman Convocation at the beginning of the semester, Girls In White Dresses automatically popped in my head. This is because I feel like this is a book that has prepared me for my life experiences at this stage in my life, and I think that it would help incoming freshman with what is to come in their next four years at Ball State, and after that as well.
I had already read the book, but it had been a while so I decided to read it again. As soon as we started working on writing project three, I was on top of things. I even began emailing people that would put me in contact with the author Jennifer Close.
I wrote her public relations person several emails, and tried contacting the publishing house, but I was unsuccessful, and I never heard back from anyone.
I even tried direct messaging the author through her Twitter account, but not even that worked. I did some research, and she is currently on a book tour, therefore I am sure that is why I did not hear back because she is probably very busy with that.
I decided to try a different approach to writing essays. I decided for this essay I was going to write everything I know, and I want to prove. Once, I got all of my ideas on the page, which was a good chunk (at least seven hundred and thirty words), I then went searching for sources.
I was very successful in finding sources that were relevant and played right into what I wanted to communicate in my essay. This was very helpful. I loved this method, because I got everything I wanted to say out before I had to work with sources, instead of basing my essay purely on my sources. I think that this is going to make my essay better than ones in past for this reason.
Peer editing helped tremendously in my writing process. First of all, by reading out loud my essay, I was able to find many grammatical errors. This, also, helped when it came with sentence structure, and how I worded my essay. By reading out loud, all of that becomes very apparent. Luckily, those are quick fixes. After reading aloud, we switched with people twice. My first peer editor helped me find some more grammatical mistakes; they also helped with the way my essay was organized. This is something I would not have thought about fixing, without their input. My second peer editor, did not give as much input as the other, however was still helpful with a few of my main points. There were some unclear areas that did not make sense to the reader. This was helpful in making my essay less ambiguous.
After peer editing, I fixed all of my mistakes that were discussed in class, and I finalized some of my options I had from quotes from my sources. I went through and added all of my chosen information from my sources, and then added explanatory areas to relate the information to my main ideas, and overall proposal. I, also, wrote the introduction and the conclusion to complete the essay, and pull it all together.
Coming to college is a scary yet exciting time in a young graduate’s life. There is much anticipation for what to expect, but what if the book that every incoming freshman is required to read gave students a heads up into what they will get out of their years in school? It would not only prepare the students, but also excite the students for the upcoming year. Jennifer Close’s Girls In White Dresses is just that book. Girls In White Dresses is a great choice for Freshman Convocation because the book gives insight into what you can expect to get out of college by showing characters coming of age, work struggles, along with experiences among their relationships. This gives the freshman students something to look forward to in those aspects all while providing a relatable feel.
Girls in White Dresses is a fiction story following three friends (Isabella, Mary, and Lauren) as they set out into their twenties. The girls are struggling with careers or their lack of; finding a suitable man along the way with going through heartbreak, and begging for time with their married friends. This book goes in depth into the lives of adulthood, and trying to get their lives together. Close writes about the three main ladies, but also delves into their other friends and their struggles. The tone in the book takes on whatever character is telling their story at the time, and switches as the characters do in the book. Something that Close does that I find interesting is that she includes a big variety of supporting characters with their own stories. This can get confusing if one is not paying attention, but if you are it adds much depth to the book. It adds another element by connecting all of the characters in some way. The depth creates some challenge for the reader, which is important for an academic book. However, the book is written relatively simply making it an easy read for those who do not enjoy reading and/or are not that great of a reader. This is imperative to the Freshman Convocation, because it is a book for all types of students and readers.
Jennifer Close is in her thirties, and a native to Chicago. She has a strong background in writing. When she was in school she only wrote stories from the male perspective (Washington Post). Girls In White Dresses was her first story with some female perspective, and she actually wrote it from personal experiences. “I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did. But I do steal from real life… with (the first] book it was all about friends, so if I steal from things it’s balled up in another way so it takes on its own life” (We Love This Book). Since it is so personal, it adds something extra to the story, by allowing it to be humorous being that she has lived through these situations, therefore the experiences are raw as ever.
She is currently on a book tour (Washington Post), therefore the cost for her to come would be a little bit pricier than normal since she would be just ending her book tour. However, she lives in close proximity to Muncie, therefore I do not believe it would be difficult to get her to come speak to young adults, since that is her primary target market.
The importance of The Freshman Convocation reader is always that it should impact students. I agree with this, however, I think it is important that the students are able to relate to the story that is being told in order to enjoy and be willing to read this book.
Girls In White Dresses does a wonderful job of relating to students’ personal lives. By displaying friend groups and relationships, the book is making the reader attentive. Every student will have to deal with friendships, blooming or destructive love interests, and strained family relationships during their time in school. “Close, who is 32, captures the extended post-collegiate ennui associated with her generation – a bit too keenly, at times. The characters are not unsympathetic” (USA Today). She is very accurate with her characters, and their actions and relationships. This allows the student to get more excited about college, because these are the relationships that the student could develop in their time at Ball State.
All of the new experiences that come along with going to college are what shape your adult life. These are the happenings that will stick with students, and aid in their coming of age. Girls In White Dresses shows many different types of experiences that encompass the coveted twenties decade. By reading about these experiences, it is giving a heads up to what they have to look forward to.
Similar to friendships and experiences, professional life is another big part of the chapter of your life that is college and beyond. Friendships and experiences will happen in college regardless, but the purpose is to get a degree, so that one can start their professional life. The book does a great job of showing the full spectrum of what could happen, from having very successful careers to being a lowly intern. “GIRLS IN WHITE DRESSES truly took me through an honest and realistic journey of life as a twenty-something; I was absolutely able to relate” (Jessica Lawlor). Seeing both sides, helps students decide what they want to accomplish while being in school so that they can hit their end goal, whatever professional path that may be. In all of these aspects, Girls In White Dresses helps prepare and excite incoming freshman.
Girls In White Dresses is one of the few stories made for the young adult age group. This makes this particular story even more coveted for The Freshman Convocation, because since the book is made for the incoming freshman’s age group, they will have an easier and more relatable time reading this book. In turn, the students will be more apt to participate in discussions, and attend the author presentation rather than if they felt no connection to the story or the author.
With every story is going to come some criticism. This book could be considered too gender specific for every one to have to read, but I still believe that it is a good choice. Yes, the story is centered on a group of girlfriends, however along side them are the men in their lives. Whereas it may not be as detailed as the girls’ insights it is still showing what the men are going through at this point in their lives in relation to struggles, work life, and relationships. It still shows a great deal of perception.
Close provided her readers a real life and relatable insight into what life in your twenties could be like. She did so with incredible detail that made the reader feel a part of the characters’ lives. The story gives incoming freshman something to look forward to as they are coming of age, and embarking on this new journey to college. Girls In White Dresses is a great choice for Freshman Convocation because the book gives insight into what you can expect to get out of college by showing characters coming of age, work struggles, along with experiences among their relationships.
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