College is an interesting beast.
There are all these new and exciting things going on—sports, entertainment, social activities, new people from everywhere—and a thousand ways to goof off. All the distractions and schedule overload can make a person forget some of the skills that got him to college in the first place. In particular, I’ve noticed that many people in college forget how to write! (That is, if knew how at all.) It’s funny how so many people think they can (or should) avoid writing after an initial Freshman Comp class. I’ve overheard people say things like, “I’m an engineering major—I don’t have to worry about more writing classes.” But I’ve seen that whether you choose to study English or Business or the sciences, being able to write well will separate yourself from the rest. Down the road you and your engineering degree may be competing for a job against someone with an identical degree and similar experience. If one of you speaks and writes dramatically better than the other, which one do you think is getting the job?
Writing is also an excellent way to help you to understand yourself. I once read that “writers write to discover what they think.” I’ve found it to be true. You change lot during a college career, and writing can serve as a record of how much you have progressed and in many cases, keeping a journal of some kind offers a lot of reminders—a way to learn from mistakes.
Good writing is something you can be very proud of and something you keep. I’m pleased to say that my writing is evolving (I need only look at some of the things I wrote a few years ago to verify that!) This has come partly from the caring instruction of others and partly from practice. I have to remind myself that becoming a better writer is a constant process, one that matures with repetition. The second draft is better than the first, the third better than the second—the fourth—sometimes shockingly better than the first. And that’s the good news: knowing that if you keep at it, your draft is just going to keep getting better and better. And your writing skills are going to keep being sharpened for use in business, your personal life, creative projects, hobbies—there’s a lot out there for someone who can express ideas well in writing.
Like a friend once told me: Keep Writing.
Mick Wang is junior at Butler University