Project Title

Why Students Should Story Themselves: The Benefits of Autoethnographic Writing

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - English

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Lara Smith-Sitton

Abstract (300 words maximum)

For many students, college represents a period of great change. As students learn, meet new people, and engage in new activities their identities shift. Shifting identity causes enough stress on its own, but then consider all of the other stressors a college student might experience in the United States: gender and sexual identity issues, issues of race, campus safety, physical and mental disability, social media issues. Even the prospect of picking a major can be a confusing, stress-inducing journey.

Engaging with stories changes the way readers experience and interpret their own lives and the world at large. We gain an understanding from reading a story that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Stories fill in the gaps where meaning is hard to find, and they create epiphanies when a resolution is evasive. Storying the self through autoethnographic writing lets the writer interpret their own life in order to gain a deeper understanding of themselves. Students who deal with all of these issues are searching for that deeper meaning, that connection, and resolution. Each student has their own story, and each one is worth writing about. This presentation will discuss why autoethnography is a valuable writing tool for students seeking to enhance their professional endeavors, for those experiences moments of stress, and for anyone who appreciates the value of stories. This type of writing is important because it can help find the solutions to the many problems facing college students today.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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Why Students Should Story Themselves: The Benefits of Autoethnographic Writing

For many students, college represents a period of great change. As students learn, meet new people, and engage in new activities their identities shift. Shifting identity causes enough stress on its own, but then consider all of the other stressors a college student might experience in the United States: gender and sexual identity issues, issues of race, campus safety, physical and mental disability, social media issues. Even the prospect of picking a major can be a confusing, stress-inducing journey.

Engaging with stories changes the way readers experience and interpret their own lives and the world at large. We gain an understanding from reading a story that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Stories fill in the gaps where meaning is hard to find, and they create epiphanies when a resolution is evasive. Storying the self through autoethnographic writing lets the writer interpret their own life in order to gain a deeper understanding of themselves. Students who deal with all of these issues are searching for that deeper meaning, that connection, and resolution. Each student has their own story, and each one is worth writing about. This presentation will discuss why autoethnography is a valuable writing tool for students seeking to enhance their professional endeavors, for those experiences moments of stress, and for anyone who appreciates the value of stories. This type of writing is important because it can help find the solutions to the many problems facing college students today.