For most students, writing an essay is often just part of getting a good grade in a class, but for students at UWS, writing an essay could mean winning a scholarship as well. Reba Buczynski, a junior majoring in Biology, Chemistry and Broad Field Science, won the Liberal Arts Essay Scholarship Competition this spring.
“I didn’t really write the essay for the scholarship,” said Buczyski. “I really just wanted to write the essay. I hadn’t written a paper in a long time (science people don’t write much), and I felt like I had an essay inside of me that needed to be written.” She has been reading a book about writing recently, which gave her some inspiration, and her work tutoring in the UWS Writing Center keeps her on her toes grammatically as well. Last year Buczynski wrote an essay for the competition about being in the orchestra, but did not make it to being a finalist.
Winning the contest was no easy chore for Buczynski, though. She said she began writing a couple months before the deadline to give her essay time to be repeatedly edited by many people. “I really wanted to write a great essay, and I think it’s apparent that I put a lot of effort into it,” said Buczynski. “I genuinely cared about what I was writing, and was able to channel my passion into words.”
The scholarship essay topic this year related to politics and how a liberal education can prepare a person to be an informed citizen who can interact with others whether or not they are in political agreement. Buczynski’s essay was focused on recent Wisconsin politics and how she feels that being an individual as a college student is better than being another number in the system. Her favorite quote from her essay is: “We are a nation of people.”
Buczynski’s winning essay now has a chance at a state–wide scholarship if it wins in the larger state college competition. She hopes to encourage other students to write an essay for the next competition. “The essay itself wasn’t hard,” said Buczynski. “The most difficult part for me was staying within the word limit! It’s very refreshing to write an essay that you don’t ‘have to’ do for class. It is your essay; it can go in any direction you choose.”