UI Sophomore Sarah Goode reflects on Education and the IYWP

I was cruising the world of social media today when I found a status of a friend I had just seen over Thanksgiving break. She wrote, “I came to college thinking that I had a pretty good head start. Now I’m beginning to realize that I’m kind of terrible at everything”. 

I guess I’m not the only one who thinks I’m lagging behind in college. I replied to her quote, trying to sound positive yet realistic, comforting her that I am in the same boat. Education seems to be this individual endeavor, that we’re all alone in this daunting task; this idea has changed for me while I look back on every volunteer experience I’ve been a part of with IYWP. I’ve realized that education and learning take time, people, and passion. Through our course “Writing with Purpose,” we’ve questioned the ideas and methods of modern education and what learning really is about.

 I’ve questioned myself how my college experience has been from this class, and, to be honest, I’ve felt a lot like my friend. Moving from a small school, I felt behind, stupid, and also ‘terrible at everything.’ Was this my fault, or my education? I remember listening about the IYWP project as a freshman, and I was enthralled that college students could volunteer and make a difference–with writing! Never have I seen any leader so energetic or passionate about making a difference in any way they can. The IYWP seems to exemplify by correlating education with fun for kids of all ages and backgrounds. The kids I work with now at Pheasant Ridge are excited to see us. They see us in the doorway and yell, “The writers are here!” I get to sit down once a week with a few kids and forget the world of adults and remember what it’s like to write for fun, to push creativity further then you expect. I’ve found this community that not only appreciates but also specializes in writing. I’m surrounded by passionate leaders who all want one thing: to educate, not by looking down, but by encouraging.


Sarah Goode (center) volunteering with kindergarteners at Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood Center.

Sarah Goode is a sophomore majoring in English, and she is also currently contracted in the Army ROTC program at the University of Iowa.


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