The Arak Journal is supported by a generous gift from Sydney F. Arak and Ruth Toor in honor of their parents, John and Frieda Arak, and by so many across the University of Delaware’s campus who believe that writing is at the heart of learning and discovery.
This year’s collection of essays shows the range of subjects that UD students explore. From concussions to copyright in photosharing, viral videos to Disney outlaws, and pitching velocity to ads meant to control women’s behavior, these essays present a snapshot of what is on the minds of first-year college students. Further, their writing shows the depth to which they will go to provide the fullest picture. As we read the essays, the only certainty is that there are no black and white issues, no two sides to a topic, and no easy answers. These essays demonstrate that as writers and thinkers within a complicated world, English 110 students embrace complexity, otherness, and the multiple sides to every issue in an effort to gain an understanding. It is the process of writing; it is a difficult yet rewarding endeavor.
The essays are the culmination of dozens of drafts and hours of work from the writers, their instructors, and their peers. Discovery, drafting, research, revision, development, more research, more revision, tightening, revision, expansion, revision and still more revision: that is the stuff of writing. These are not essays that were written the night before they were due. And when incoming first-year English 110 students read these essays and wonder how they will be able to write their own, the instructor write-ups demonstrate that the process of writing is done as much in the community of the classroom as it is done alone at a desk.
The 2017-2018 Arak Journal is composed of essays chosen out of more than one hundred submissions. The Journal is put together by a team of enthusiastic volunteers made up of faculty and graduate students who teach writing in UD’s Department of English. Working from January to April to select the essays—through three rigorous stages of evaluation—the editorial team meets to discuss and sometimes argue over the finalists. The editorial team chose these six essays to represent diverse topics and approaches to writing and research. Finally, from April through mid-August, a team of three editors work with the student writers to source check and edit the essays.
The Composition Program and the English Department aren’t the only contributors to the Arak Journal; it is truly an interdisciplinary project within the College of Arts and Sciences. The visual representations of the essays are done with the help of Professor Ashley Pigford in UD’s Department of Art and Design whose Graphic Design Studio, a junior-level course part of the Visual Communications BFA program, illustrates the essays as a class project. Thanks to all those who worked to create this year’s Arak Journal and who support writing at UD. We eagerly await next year’s edition and our work with more writers, teachers, artists, and supporters.
To learn more about the UD Composition Program, please visit our website, onehundredten.org.