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.
When I look back on my first day at Fontbonne, I remember how nervous I was and how curious I was of who I’d meet and who I would become friends with during my future years at Fontbonne. To be honest, I never imagined it to be the way it turned out to be. I’m the type of student that thrives the best with individualized attention from instructors and a healthy support system (friends, family, peers). To say that I have all that now is almost an understatement. I’ve had some of the toughest semesters at Fontbonne. Dietetics students work hard, let me tell you! But throughout the entire journey, not once did I feel like I didn’t have support from my instructors and my peers. In honor of my second-to-last semester at Fontbonne, I’d like to give a shout out to those who have made an impact on me during my years at Fontbonne:
The friendships I’ve made in my college years I hope to keep for a lifetime. I would have never guessed how tight-knit and family-like my peers at Fontbonne would be to me. Each and every friend I’ve made at Fontbonne has made an impact on me.
Jaimette McCulley was the first of my instructors to help me get started after transferring to Fontbonne. She answered all my questions and always made herself available as a resource when I was first starting out and to this day. I have a huge amount of love and respect for all my current instructors here at Fontbonne. They truly have their students’ best interests in mind and put their heart in to teaching.
Coming into college, I was scared about picking a major right off that bat. However, I knew that I was really interested in English and it’s what I love to do. I now find myself writing essays about pieces of literature that interest me. I honestly couldn’t have picked a better major. I chose this major because I’m a certified book nerd. I won the reading student of the year award my senior year of high school, basically the book nerd of the year award. I have loved reading since I was little; it has become something that I’m super passionate about. Also, I chose this major because of the intensive writing courses. I love challenging myself when writing a paper. I love constructing a paper out of an idea in your head, then making it cohesive. It astounds me how one can use words to provoke a message and I love every minute of my major because of it. I love the material we read in my classes. Right now, we’re reading a novel and analyzing said novel. It’s amazing how you can view literature from a way and develop an idea about it. I love my professors in the major, they allow you to create your own ideas. They allow you to use your own words.
I’m a strong believer in doing what you love. If you love reading and writing and are passionate about it, I highly suggest you become an English major. It’s a lot of writing and hard work, but it’s all totally worth it. I’ve learned how to look at literature differently as an English major. I’ve learned that words are used deliberately and the author probably used it for a reason. Nothing is always something can be confusing in a way, but analyzing literature makes you look at the world differently. Literature is a direct link to our culture and society. You can develop ideas about both of those when you read a piece of literature. No literature is the same, each piece is unique. When reading a piece from the 1950’s, you will find something different than reading a poem from the 1800’s. Literature shows how the world has developed and changed. I’m done with my rant about how awesome my major is, but I really do recommend this major to anyone who loves to read.
I will leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs on the topic of doing what you love, have an awesome week!
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” -Steve Jobs
I never really thought about why I changed to professional writing. I used to want to become a teacher, then it became too stressful. I have always enjoyed writing, mainly poetry and creative writing.The writing classes here have helped make my writing better. Dr. Sommer keeps asking me to put more detail in my writings so much, but I know that he wants me to succeed at writing. I am always writing something, from poetry, short stories, and journaling in general. Last semester, I wrote a short story for a class and one classmate asked if we wanted them published. So I am a published writer.
I always knew that I wanted to do something with the media. Then I also wanted to mix it in with something I am good at, writing. I will be graduating next fall with my B.A in Advertising with a concentration in professional writing. I didn’t start out that way though. Freshmen year, I was a nursing major just because I knew that the job demand was high. Sophomore year, I was getting closer. I decided to go into journalism. I loved the writing. Then, I also took a public relations course. For some reason that course made me want to try marketing and advertising classes. So, I change my major AGAIN my junior year when I started going to Fontbonne. This major change was the best decision I have ever made. Major declared: Advertising. I discovered what I love to do and what my future career may possibly be. Originally, I thought I was going to be a copywriter. Now, I am leaning towards something with Social Media in promoting things.
I am going to different this week and post a sonnet I wrote. I hope you all enjoy it.
The Pancake Sonnet
Pancakes are so delicious
From blue berry to chocolate
Each can be very nutritious
Unless you haven’t ate
When I think this it makes me hungry
All I want to do is eat but I have no food
Which can make me angry
That is the current mood
Pancakes can be cooked in many ways
Blue berries, chocolate chips, buttery
The best time to eat them is at the end of the days
They can be made artistically
Pancakes are very golden
Better when hot not while colden
When you look up the word inspire, the dictionary defines it as- to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
In the Fontbonne community I would have to say that Dr. Jason Sommer would be an inspiration to me. He’s my professor, my academic advisor, Department Chair of the English and Communication Department, and he’s a published poet.
After I’ve completed my BA here at Fontbonne University, my goal is to become a published writer. I’m currently enrolled in Advanced Creative writing which is being taught by Dr. Sommer. He’s the kind of frustrating inspiration especially when he sees capabilities in you that you don’t see within yourself. But he wouldn’t be the Dr. Sommer everyone has come to know if he didn’t push you to reach your full potential.
Another professor on my list would have to be Professor Margaux Sanchez; she’s a professor in the English and Communications department. She inspires me because, like me, she manages a home life/family, work and everything else. She’s also helped me reach new heights regarding my writing. Without her I wouldn’t know how to unclog my mind and thoughts when I’m suffering from writer’s block. She’s written for the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and most recently, the St. Louis Beacon. She’s someone I look up to and has shown me how to become a better me through my writing.