The Author's Voice

SARAH LAWRENCE SUPPLEMENT 1. A central part of learning at Sarah Lawrence is conference work, the guided independent study on a topic of the student's choosing that accompanies each seminar course. Conference work is a result of a student's specific area of interest in a class and a teacher's guidance and most often results in a substantial paper, project, or piece of research. For this essay, we offer you the chance to imagine what you might do for conference work. Is there a topic you've always wanted to learn more about? Has a class in high school rushed past a subject that you found fascinating? The topic can be as broad or narrow as you would like. This is your opportunity to reflect on what you might want to study.


I could hear the rhythmic pitter patter of rain on the window pane as I drifted in and out of consciousness. I stared intently at my notes, desperately trying to absorb the convoluted lines of graphite lead on my paper. After concentrating for an exceedingly long time, I was able to decipher the disjointed language in which I had taken notes. At first it seemed only natural to me that my professor would dictate to me the meaning of a poem or piece of literature, but as I coasted out of the lecture and into my thoughts it all seemed so backwards. Shouldn’t the foundation of learning be one of discovery? A beautiful aspect of literature was its subjectivity, an aspect that had totally been removed from our learning process.

I gazed around the classroom as my peers were guilelessly scribbling down notes in an almost mechanical fashion as the teacher effortlessly poured his opinion into their heads. He too operated in an almost perfunctory manner, as he regurgitated all of his information off of a slide he had prepared on The Brothers Karamazov. Continuing my epiphany I began to develop a feeling of remorse for Dostoyevsky, whose life’s work was now being immortalized by four pitiable bullet points.

I realized at that point my...

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