February 25, 2021

After trying out two different majors, my four-year plan was a mess. At this point, no one looking at my schedule could tell what I wanted to do with my future—and neither could I. My dream of one day looking forward to the “big kid” world of a stable job seemed to slip away into hoping I could make it to graduation changing my major less than ten times.

At the end of my freshman year, I landed in the Professional Writing and Information Design (PWID) program. But I wasn’t exactly confident this plan would last long either.

What did “Professional Writing and Information Design” even mean? It sounded so…well, professional. If this was the type of major for confident people who wore blazers and had their life together, it wasn’t going to be for me. Though I enjoyed writing, I didn’t think I was good enough to consider myself an official, professional writer. And I definitely couldn’t consider myself a designer. I was just a confused freshman trying to fit somewhere.

Baby Steps

Looking for stability without getting my hopes up, I tiptoed into my first PWID class. Our first assignment was to pick a job description we would like to be interviewed for. (As an introvert, I would not “like” to be interviewed at all, thank you).

But what jobs could I even get with this major? Would I like any? I was haunted by the ghost of “Major Change Request” Past, questioning my ability to find a major I actually enjoyed that would lead to satisfying work.

I timidly picked a job description, wondering if I could ever feel equipped enough to have a job. Were there job descriptions out there that wouldn’t scare me to pieces? Was I really in the right place?

Finding my Niche

A glimmer of hope, a small piece of an answer to that question, came my next semester in Professional Editing class. As I relocated misplaced modifiers, grappled with clunky phrases, and reorganized illogical structures, I found something: I really enjoyed editing!

There was something so satisfying about chiseling away at something good to make it better. I loved leaving comments on the articles I edited, encouraging an author or suggesting new ideas. I loved learning what editing looked like online, relieved that editing wasn’t stuck in the satisfying but archaic world of paper and pens. I started to think I found my home.

Don’t get me wrong; I was still nervous about my future. But I could begin working toward something I was genuinely excited about.

Confidence (still without the blazer)

Despite all my nerves, I made it to senior year and stepped into our portfolio development class with more clarity, experience, and confidence.

I came to class with a job description of something I could see myself doing with the skills and dreams I had. In mock interviews, I could reference my internship, class projects, and jobs, knowing those had equipped me well for my future.

One of the words that I feared most—“professional”—became something I really appreciated about the major. I’m so thankful for how my life has changed in Tyler 102, where all the PWID magic takes place. I walked in a nervous and overwhelmed sophomore, completely clueless about my future. This spring, I will leave full of gratitude, friendships, and the opportunity to have a job I know I’ll love.

About the author

Jessica Barton

Jessica Barton is a senior PWID major who works as an Editorial Assistant at a local editing company. She loves the Lord, thrifting, cantaloupe, smooth pens, running, and muffins.

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