It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
– Ernest Hemingway
Maybe it’s the inner humanities and social science major inside me talking, but one of the things I regret most in college is not taking enough time for my writing. I think there are so many hidden benefits to writing, and it’s often overlooked for many people. As someone who has taken on a lot of writing positions through jobs and internships, I know for one thing that writing is an evolving process. I don’t think you ever become ‘perfect’ at writing, you just improve and adapt over time.
And even more unfortunately, people often sell themselves short on their writing abilities. After being a writing associate for Lafayette’s college writing program for a year, I’ve learned that there are many different writing styles based on linguistic styles and cultural perceptions of writing.
But why does this really matter to college students?
Most of our work is comprised of writing research papers, personal statements, and lab reports – so we often feel that writing well is something that we already know. It’s tiring – sometimes I feel that I spend more time writing papers than actually learning about my projects/classes – but improving your writing skills has a lot of benefits.
For those of you still in the Valentine’s day spirit, writing is a sweet (and less costly and cliche) way of express your feelings for someone. I’m a big fan of letter writing myself, as I believe it is an amazing way to describe yourself and your experiences in a way that doesn’t come across in person.
In college, writing can be a combination of relaxing and creativity. Even if you write on a completely casual level, it can be a much better way of reflecting than just ignoring your own personal thoughts and experiences.
Cover Letters, Resumes, Business Reports – all of those need a solid handle on business writing. While it can be very time consuming, practicing and attending workshop – or even just reading a few online articles can help improve your stake in the professional world. And since getting a job is the end goal for most college students, it’s a valuable skill to learn while in college.
The job market keeps changing especially in the world of digital media – so its important to learn how to sell yourself via writing in a number of ways – 140 characters, Images, Infographics, and many other styles. That online portfolio won’t write itself unfortunately.
Element of Surprise:
It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
– Robert Benchley
It’s really amazing what kind of things writing will do for you – especially once you put it out there in the world. Writing has connected me with really amazing people online, helped me to educate my fellow students, and even discover my love for marketing.
One of my friends is an English major, but her talents in writing has brought her to the fields of communication, education, and even put her at the forefront of some of our college’s publications.
While the actual ins and outs of writing are something that we discover in time, there are so many fantastic and unconventional things that can happen when you put your writing out there for the world to see. Often enough, many of those things are rejections, but its pretty hard to put anything out into the open and not have it criticized. (Maybe if you cured cancer?)
Regardless, I wish everyone the best with their writing and urge everyone to keep at it, even if you don’t think you’re particularly good at it. You’d be surprised what you’re actually good at when you put your mind to it.