Bartholomae “Inventing the University” Blog Post

Writing is difficult for me


For much of my academic lifetime, I viewed it as a reflection of who I am and how my thoughts work. I wanted to put myself in the best light possible while staying indicative of my true self. Not only is it a struggle stay true to oneself while sounding insightful, but it is also a vulnerable feeling to put yourself out there for criticism; criticism in the form of a grade.


Through many anxiety filled nights, trying to produce basic ideas on paper in hopes to magically form it into a coherent essay, I realized my approach to writing is the wrong way to go.


My approach to writing was very one-dimensional, very my way or the highway. I established that my writing style is how it is and I won’t change it for any teacher. But this approach is what most likely caused the anxiety and dread of writing in the first place. Writing is not something to be feared or dreaded.


I was so obsessed with how I much I came through in papers that it actually compromised my writing. Not having the adaptability to tailor your writing style that is compatible to the topic that is written about is doomed for failure. Causing you to loose much of your credibility amongst your audience, confusion for the reader, and just plain bad writing.

David Bartholomae, an English professor at the University of Pittsburg, writes about the important of knowing your audience: “He [the student] has to learn to speak our language, to speak as we do, to try on the peculiar ways of knowing, selecting, evaluating, reporting, concluding, and arguing that define the discourse of our community”(4). In his article “Inventing the University” he delves into the idea that it is important as student to write as your professors would, and do so with confidence.


He goes on to say, “Or perhaps I should say the various discourses of our community, since it is in the nature of a liberal arts education that a student, after the first year or two, must learn to try on a variety of voices and interpretive schemes-to write…”(4). Not only is it important to write to a higher level of standard, but also write to the class you are in. It shows a greater level of understanding and credibility if done so.


I am not the best writer. I still have much to learn when it comes to “Inventing the University”, hence why I said “Writing is difficult for me” in the introduction. But I know that it is good to keep one’s voice, but not to the point where it becomes the main intent in the paper. So be yourself, but in a format that is appropriate for what you’re talking about. This will make your readers happier, ultimately making you a happier writer.



Bartholomae, David. “Inventing the University.” 1985. Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader. 2nd Ed. Ed. Victor Villanueva. Urbana: NCTE, 2003. Print.