Professional Writing Courses Teach You More Than Just Professional Writing

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

When I first entered Dr. Haimes-Korn’s Professional Writing Course in August of 2018, I was very apprehensive. As she detailed what we would be doing in her course for the semester, my social anxiety told me to drop the class the second she mentioned we would be interviewing strangers. Against that voice in my head, I stayed with the class and I am incredibly happy that I did. I have grown as a writer, as a student, and as a person by sticking with this class.

My content design team for my professional writing course.

This course teaches you so much more than professional writing. One of the most useful things I learned in this class was how to work within a content design team made up of fellow students. I learned how to provide useful feedback and how to take constructive criticism to make my writing even better. I even learned from my teammates to stop making those same mistakes in my future writings throughout the course. Most importantly, I learned how to work as a team and collaborate with my group, which wasn’t what I had anticipated considering group work in college is usually the worst. It was an added bonus that I really like my team members. I’ll always be grateful to my team members Allyson, Caroline, and Donna for helping me grow personally and always helping with my writing.

Another thing I learned about was what experiential reviews are. Not only that, but I learned that I love them. I actually love them so much that I actually wrote two, one of which wasn’t even an assignment for class. By learning to write experiential reviews, I observe new places with a new eye. I take in everything about the place I’m visiting, from sounds to smells. For example, when I visited The Masquerade, I observed that the venue “smells of old antiques and is dimly lit with gothic chandeliers”, which isn’t something I would have normally noticed.  I was able to really immerse myself in the experience of seeing that concert, knowing I would have to write about it later. This assignment made me want to write about more places and immerse myself even further in the future.

This course also helped me understand who I am as a person, as well as a writer, better than before. Through our professional identity and marketing skills assignment, I was able to really understand who I am and express that to others through my blog. I learned that “I tend to focus on my communication skills, organizational skills, and time management skills. I can learn new tasks quickly, communicate effectively, and strive to do tasks to the best of my ability.” By completing that assignment, I learned who I am to employers and in the job market while being able to express that coherently through writing. That assignment alone provided a lot of help with my future goals.

Our final project in the course was probably the most challenging for myself, which was to interview someone and write an article for the Rescue Dog Olympics held in Atlanta. This assignment was my first time having to perform a journalistic style interview with someone I didn’t know and write up an article detailing what that person had told me. The most intense part was the interview itself. However, after interviewing with my assigned client, I realized that I learned so much as a writer and as an individual.

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Rescue dog River from my spotlight article for Rescue Dog Olympics.

Given my mental health, I thought I would inevitably fail the task but quickly realized that wasn’t the case. I first hand learned how to hold a conversation with a client in order to get information to write an article, and it really wasn’t all that bad. I actually had fun doing it, which made me realize I was much stronger than I give myself credit for. Writing up the actual article, I learned how to convert questions and answers into an easy to follow story that was engaging and heartwarming. My article was all about a rescue dog named River and I actually have great pride in being able to tell her story. This assignment helped me realize the potential I have as a writer and opened a new career interest for me.

This website is my ongoing writing portfolio, and this class was an amazing way to jumpstart it. I not only learned how to write experiential reviews and journalistic articles, but I learned how to create interesting infographics and how to create engaging blog posts. Outside of writing, I learned how to branch away from my comfort zone, work within a group, and understand who I am as an individual. This class was a great joy to take and I will forever be grateful for ignoring that inner voice that told me to switch classes at the beginning of the semester because I would have missed out on so many great opportunities to grow as a writer and as a person.

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