How I Became a Writing Major
I wasn’t always a writing major. In fact, this is a record setting year in my college career – it’s the first time I managed to keep the same major for two consecutive semesters. I used to be a wanderer, dappling in random areas of study that were as spur-of-the-moment as Brittany Spears’ shaved head in 2007.
As a freshman, I was an early childhood education major and I had the opportunity to observe a second grade class at a Louisville elementary school. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed helping the children learn to read. But, after so many days of sitting with my knees up to my ears in a chair that was a foot off the ground as children climbed on top of me, pulling at my hair with peanut butter stained fingers, I decided teaching wasn’t my calling.
For a brief moment, I had a really intense health phase/Captain America do-good marathon/Evel Kneviel action obsession and I wanted to be a police officer. I went on morning jogs, avoided salt and did some ride-a-longs with the Alliance Police Department. It was exciting, but I knew I didn’t want to make a life out of it. At least my jeans fit a little looser.
Sometime between spring break and finals week of my sophomore year, I discovered that writing about my random, poor decision-making was more productive than my random, poor decision-making. One of the essays I wrote in a creative writing class was chosen for the literary magazine on campus, Calliope, and I was hooked.
Two theories circled the general public when I decided to be a writing major. The first was, “Oh, you’re going to be an English teacher!” We all know that ship had already sailed off to sea. The second had a cloud of skepticism circling the words like vultures: “You’re going to be a writer?” You know, like a Henry David Thoreau sitting by a lake all day kind of thing.
I was lucky enough to have an advisor with both brains and heart, Dr. Schwartz. She assured me I wouldn’t be a starving artist and put me to work. I invested myself in every assignment I was handed – personal essays, literary analyses, instruction manuals. One time I had to tromp around a slushy cemetery and choose an old headstone, find out everything I could about the random deceased and make it relatable to iPhone-tapping twenty-year-olds.
The biggest project I wrote was an essay I worked on for a semester in a creative non-fiction class. I wrote a portrait of my grandpa’s experience with lung cancer, connecting him to asbestos used in old Navy ships. The paper was accepted into the National Undergraduate Literature Conference at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where I had the opportunity to travel to, thanks to generous funding from the English department.
My decision to become a writing major has led me to intern in Mount Union’s marketing office. I am learning valuable skills that will set me apart when job searching next fall. The experience has inspired me to pursue a career in copywriting.
Mount has both allowed me to discover what it is that I want to do and reigned me in when I’ve wandered too far, and I’ve finally found a major that I’m passionate about. This academic hobo has jumped trains for the last time.