As a freshman, I thought that I was sentenced to scrubbing dishes in the dining hall for my next four years at Cedarville. I listened to upper-level Professional Writing and Information Design students talk about client projects and job offers from organizations. I knew that an internship would eventually come, but I had no idea where to start. I looked up to the officers in the SPW (Society of Professional Writers) and wondered how they managed everything that they did. How could I get the same amount of writing experience that they did?
“Don’t worry,” Professor Carrington assured us new PWID students. “Everything will fall into place, and you’ll be just fine.” I had my doubts.
It turns out that I had no idea what kinds of opportunities were begging to be taken by someone like me. I found so many of these opportunities on campus, right beneath my nose! Time passed, and I took more Professional Writing courses and learned new skills. I realized I had to take a leap at some point and try going in a different direction that was totally unfamiliar to me.
The summer between my Sophomore and Junior year, I landed an internship with Cedarville’s Information Technology department as a technical writing intern. The experience wasn’t as scary as I expected, and I discovered that I had more skills than I’d given myself credit for. I wrote and edited articles, learned how to work with new software systems, and provided user service to hundreds of people.
By the time the next school year began, I had a guaranteed campus job with IT for the rest of the year. At this point, I realized how many opportunities existed both on and off campus for students like me.
As a junior, I took a shot in the dark and applied for a job with the Miracle Yearbook. I ended up receiving the position of Copy Editor Assistant, which meant that I would write and edit content for the university’s yearbook. I gathered material for content by going to events and interviewing various students so that I would have a wide range of campus experiences to write about. This experience has forced me to stretch different writing muscles than my IT job, which I love.
Keystone Baptist Church
Next, I found the opportunity to use my skills outside of campus by joining a marketing team at my church, Keystone Baptist. We aimed to start up a couple of social media accounts and a website to help the small church begin growing. Within three months, we saw our work reap huge results as those in the community became aware of Keystone and came to visit. I never thought I would be any good at writing marketing materials, but this experience proved me wrong and built my confidence.
There are so many other opportunities I could have taken advantage of if I had only had the time: The Writing Center, Public Relations, or Cedars student newspaper, just to name a few other campus organizations.
Long story short, I discovered that multiple departments and organizations on campus need people who can write, edit, and design a variety of materials. I wish I could go back and tell my freshman self that everything would work out, that I would have so many opportunities in the future (and even have to turn some down), and that I would gain invaluable workplace experience. These aren’t opportunities that were somehow miraculously placed into my lap; anybody could chase after them.
You just have to take the leap.