Rachel Efstathion '13
My hypothesis was that one of the best ways to help high-achieving students in Honors First Year Seminar is by using expressive writing to transform their thinking about the college experience. I used expressivist writing principles in this course to help increase students’ abilities to know and articulate both who they are now and who they want to be. Because high-achievers not to ask for help when facing hard situations, the expressive writing principles acted as an early intervention for their stress and anxiety. Free writing assignments provided an outlet for students to “get out” their fears and anxieties on paper, as a way to allow these students to examine their identity in a new light, facilitated through weekly journals. I tested this hypothesis as a Peer Instructor in an Honors First Year Seminar comprised of freshman study participants with high, medium and low measurable anxiety. All incoming honors freshman at Temple were administered the Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ) and Snyder Hope Scale (SHS). Notified by email, eight students with high anxiety, eight with moderate anxiety and eight with low anxiety were randomly selected to participate. At the end of the course, the PSQR and SHS were re-administered to our study sample and control group. The pre and post-test scores, as well as the students’ own personal reflections about their course experiences, will demonstrate that positive role of expressive writing as a transformative method for reduced anxiety in this population.