Voices from the Newest Minor in Writing Gateway Cohort

Allison Raeck


For Writing Minor Allison Raeck, choosing to apply didn’t require a second thought. One day early in her sophomore year, Allison was crossing the Diag lost in a whirl of conflicting interests and passions. Undecided on a major, she didn’t know which path to take in life. Then, a particular bulletin advertisement caught her eye: “What goes with every major? The Sweetland Minor in Writing!” Allison knew that, regardless of what path she would follow, she would always continue to write. And so, she applied.

Today, Allison is about two months into the Gateway component of the minor, and, while many of her classes require memorization and recitation, Writing 220 is an escape from the norm. Class projects are largely self-directed around a central theme, so she is able to focus on an area relevant to her own interests. In this way, when writing for the Gateway, Allison challenges and enjoys herself, rather than seeking specific approval or a specific grade.

For the first time, Allison has been encouraged to look deeper into the craft itself, asking herself exactly why she writes. After reflection, she concluded that she does not write because she is forced to; rather, as the Writing Minor emphasizes, she writes to understand her world, to express herself, to remember, and to release.

Jake Lourim


Jake Lourim decided to minor in Writing to broaden, sharpen and hone his writing skills as he works toward fulfilling his dream of becoming a sports writer. He is majoring in Economics and Statistics, but he has a passion for writing and saw the minor as the perfect way to improve his work.

Jake has been interested in a career in sports writing since he was little, but he really started to pursue it in high school and continues now in college, writing for The Michigan Daily. He finds great fulfillment in telling the stories of others—stories of their triumphs, setbacks and redemption. In today’s high-speed world, he believes that it has never been more important to write well. As he embarks on this path, he sees the Minor in Writing as the perfect way to foster his goals.

Brendan Montgomery


Brendan Montgomery decided to become a Minor in Writing when he realized he needed something more than the heavy quantitative and analytical work he was doing as an economics major. He thoroughly enjoys discounting cash flows and reading about financial markets, but he began to feel like he was being locked away in a cage, with his creative thoughts confined to the inside of his head. Writing allows him to escape this feeling. During English 230: Introduction to the Short Story and the Novel, with instructor Tim Hedges, he was hesitant when asked to introduce himself as a writer. That is no longer the case.

As a member of the Fall 2014 cohort and a student in Writing 220, Brendan has found the freedom to let his thoughts run wild and to explore his creative side on a daily basis. Whether it is posting on the Minor in Writing blog, collaborating with classmates on unique projects, or reading articles with an interesting perspective on writing, he is almost always immersed in inspired thought and discussion. He also loves the close-knit environment of his class, which is a fraction of the size of his other classes. Even though his journey as a writing minor is just beginning, he could not be happier with his decision to become a part of this community of writers at the university, and he looks forward to the open road ahead.

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