Writing in Your Major

Tips From Tutors

Next Steps Action Plan

The purpose of the Next Step Action Plan is to encourage you to incorporate the information you have learned throughout Race and Culture (NR 6) class into your daily life and personal goals. The extensive discussions and reflections you participate in throughout the semester will not be meaningful or useful unless you act upon them. Therefore, the final assignment is designed to catalyze your learning into an action plan that will help guide the rest of your career at UVM and life after college. However, it is important that you are honest with yourself in this process. Writing a bunch of lofty goals that you have no intention of pursuing is completely beside the point, so be authentic. Obviously, your TA won’t be pleased if you write that you don’t care about social justice and don’t have anything more to learn, but don’t write what you think they want to hear either (i.e. NO BS).

Below you can see some tips on Getting Started and Putting Your Ideas Together.

Getting Started

If you get stuck and can’t figure out where to start, you might want to consider doing a quick brainstorm. Below are a few specific questions you might ask yourself (in addition to those provided in the instructions for the assignment) if you are having a hard time with any of the three major components of the assignment. Reading over your autobiographical essay could also help you to remember what the most meaningful part of the class has been for you and how your background has influenced the way you think about social justice.

Having a hard time identifying areas for learning and personal development related to diversity, power, privilege, and social and environmental justice?

Consider what you have learned in class:

  • Were there any lectures that confused or frustrated you? What might that reveal about your understanding of the content for that lecture? Was the lecture too basic or too advanced?
  • When did you feel uncomfortable in class discussions? What triggered the discomfort?
  • What was your least favorite part of the content of the class? Was your dislike of the content related to your level of experience with it?
  • Have you been involved in social justice initiatives on campus? If so, what has been the most challenging factor in organizing? If not, what has prohibited you from joining?
Having a hard time relating your opportunities to prior experience?

This question is especially relevant to your autobiography, so re-reading what you wrote might give you some good ideas.

  • What parts of NR6 were easy to learn because you were already familiar with the ideas? What parts were challenging?
  • In what ways has your upbringing affected your receptivity to discussions about race and social justice?
  • What values have you learned that might help you to continue learning about race and social justice? What values might interfere with this process?
Having a hard time identifying steps into the future?

First, read over what you have written about for the areas that you want to develop. Then consider the following:

  • What is likely going to stop you from following through with the learning objectives you've identified? How might you combat that from happening?
  • How have your views on environmental justice changed throughout the course? How might those changes influence your future goals?
  • What would incorporating social justice into your daily life look like?
  • In ten years, what do you want other people to think about the way you approach issues of injustice related to social identities such as race and gender?
Putting Your Ideas Together

The structure for this essay is outlined in the assignment, so be sure to follow updated instructions carefully. Typically, the paper is divided into three parts based on the three components of the prompt. In this case, simply split the paper up with headings for each section. Within each section, be sure to follow a logical progression of thought and tie your ideas together with transitions so that each section of the paper can be understood independently. At the same time, however, it is important to make connections between the sections of your paper. In the end, you need to show that you have been paying attention in class and integrated the information you have learned in a way that will allow you to bring it into your life. This class is not designed to give you information, but rather to help you to articulate and develop your values surrounding the environment and social justice, and to expose you to new ideas.