As I am a sophomore in college, there are a variety of educators who have influenced me. One of the most impactful teachers was an english instructor my senior year of high school.
Thinking my writing skills were at the level they needed to be at, I was shocked when I did not receive the grade I desired on my first few papers. I spoke to the teacher after classes and he essentially told me that he would tell that I was confident in my writing, but he told me I was writing for the assignment. I always thought that was the purpose of writing in school: just to complete the assignment.
However, he taught me the importance of writing for what I felt and what I was passionate about in the assignment. He encouraged me to go about each assignment with a fresh set of eyes, not to just find the easy topic to talk about. In doing so, I learned to be confident in my own opinions and taking the more difficult route if it is what I feel strongly in.
Moreover, this experience taught me so much about not settling for what I think is right at the time and to go for the strange, unique, and unexpected solution to a problem. This teacher challenged me and encouraged me to be the best version of myself and to never settle.
“Why professional writing?” Or, “Why an English major?” These are common questions I am constantly asked by my friends, coaches and family members. I know the general consensus about English classes is typically a negative one so why in the world would I want to spend four years of my life studying it? Well, I for one have always loved writing, learning about the English language and improving my writing skills while doing so. My passion for writing developed at a young age when I was about 5 or 6 when I began to write dozens of short stories in my spiral notebooks. The amount of notebooks that I went through as a child was more than likely upwards to about 100. Most of these relics are scattered around my house and I’ll find myself from time to time picking one or two up and flipping through it to relive my childhood. My mother and my great-grandmother were great influences in my life who always encouraged me to continue my writing and would always ask to see my most recent works. As I advanced in age so did my writings. I soon began to have aspirations of writing lengthy novels and plots for movies and television shows and would always write these ideas down. Mainly due to a short attention span, none of these ideas ever took form. I soon shortened the lengths of the ideas down and began to write short stories and poems. Throughout high school and college, I have a strange enjoyment to writing essays and other various writing prompts that I’ve been assigned. This love for writing is what led to me becoming a blogger and writing these different posts.
Now, another major question I am always asked is, “What are you going to do with a professional writing degree?” I’ve always known what I was going to do with a professional writing degree and this is to continue writing. I have aspirations of working in the publication industry and potentially at a magazine company. One day I dream to have my own magazine or sort of publication where I would write about the things that interest me. I am working on getting internships at magazine companies where I can continue this dream forward that I have been living since a young boy.
My whole life I have always been passionate about writing in all it’s forms. From short stories and poetry, to essays and critical analysis I have always loved writing. While in high school I made the decision that I wanted to study writing in college. A majority of people thought I was crazy for this. I always enjoyed the various essays I was assigned throughout school that were loathed by most of the other students. Writing is just something that has always come more naturally and fluidly to me; it was my choice of self-expression. I began to think about possible careers to have that involved writing and the field of journalism always came up. I was fond of the idea of being a journalist but was never all too sure about it. Most schools have journalism programs all more or less focused on the same curriculum. Fontbonne does not have a journalism program, however, it does have a professional writing degree. Fontbonne was the only school that offered a more general writing degree that I was looking at. This piqued my interest because it expanded my possibilities that I could do with this degree. I wouldn’t be stuck in a program that I may end up not wanting to do with my life after all. Even if I have a change in heart in what direction I want to take my writing career I can still stay within the same degree. At this point I am still not sure what it is exactly I want to do with my degree but that’s really what the point of college is in my case.
First year college students walk in with a lot of insecurities. This is the year we begin to answer the question that our relatives at awkward family parties have been asking us for years: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We are asked what major we want to do and what we want to do with that major. All of sudden, you are picking classes and setting up for graduation. All this happens with the expectation you will graduate and go into the real world.
I walked in knowing I want to major in English. It was the obvious approach due to my affinity for books and writing. The question previously stated changed to “Is this really what I want to do when I grow up?” I learned this year that the answer to the question at every single family party was: English. It was always there, but I had some insecurities due to how important the decision is.
This year I learned about literature and read more authors that I have ever read. I have interpreted literature and learned more about writing than I ever knew. I was introduced to reading literature in lenses and it changed the way I read. Harry Potter is, and always will be, obviously a Marxist text.
This year I learned that I never want to stop reading and writing. My hobby turned into passion, now I want my passion to turn into my career.