At the end of February 2023, several students from the Russian Department sat for ACTR’s (American Council of Teachers of Russian) annual essay competition. For this contest, students studying Russian from colleges across the nation spend an hour writing an essay roughly a page long in response to ACTR’s prompt of the year. According to the ACTR website, students are judged by “content (the ability to express ideas in Russian and communicate information about the topic) and length, lexicon, syntax, structure (grammatical and orthographic accuracy), and originality or creativity.” Students are also grouped based on their contact hours with Russian (how many hours they’ve spent learning Russian) and are judged based on this level. Thus, higher levels are often more competitive.
This year, one student performed exceptionally well in the essay competition. Peter Guma (24’) participated in one of the highest and most competitive levels of competition and received an honorable mention for his essay. He provided some insight into his success:
“I prepared for the contest by reviewing relevant vocabulary and grammar. Drafting an outline before writing helped me keep my argument focused. I would say the most challenging part of the experience was deciding which details were most important and cutting out anything tangential. Overall, I felt well equipped to address the prompt. I had no trouble coming up with something to say.”
Peter continues: “I am thrilled to have received an honorable mention while representing the College. I am grateful for the rigorous language classes I have taken at Dickinson and the professors who have enabled me to succeed.”
We congratulate Peter on this fantastic accomplishment!