3690: A Journal of First-Year Student Research Writing

Author Image

Ellen Lapointe Photo


MLA, Writing


Overview: Stephen Frug sits down at his computer desk on April 4th, 2011. His wife, Sarah, is in the kitchen trying to feed their three year old son and for once, all is quiet. He picks up his glasses and slides them on his face, then continues to log onto his online blog. He had started writing the blog in 2005 when he was still a 34 year old graduate student in the history department of Cornell University. Since then, he’d gotten his Ph.D. and started teaching history at Hobart and William Smith in Geneva, New York, an hour's drive away from his home in Ithaca.

Stephen reminisces as he clicks through some of his older blog posts. He smiles as he scrolls past the post about his son’s birthday and another about the frustrations he had while trying to write his graphic novel. A few minutes later, he finds himself staring at a new, blank entry. He had, after all, logged onto this blog for a particular reason. Taking a big sigh, he finally begins to write. “Twenty years ago today my mother, Mary Joe Frug, was murdered about a block from our house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was early evening; she was out for a walk. No one was ever caught or charged; we have no idea, to this day, who killed her. It was less than a month after my twentieth birthday.”

Author's Reflection: My name is Ellen Lapointe and I am currently a nursing major at St. John Fisher College. As my classes progress I am realizing that I love nursing and cannot wait to work in a hospital one day, but I also have a true passion for writing. Writing this paper, at least to me, was much different than any other paper I’ve written previously. Having a whole class centered on one final paper really made me very conscious about research as well as the editing process. It was also a different experience because I was writing about something that I was truly interested in, and I felt like a detective as I pried deeper into the lives of the victim and all of the people involved in the case. At first I stumbled upon some road blocks that put a temporary halt to my writing. As I tried to look up more information surrounding this 1991 murder mystery, I was having trouble finding information. With the help of the librarians, my professor, and some of my peers, I was able to find more clues that helped me write my paper. Although I put a lot of time and energy into writing and editing this paper, I now look back on it and I am genuinely proud of the effort I made, even if it’s not perfect.

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