I first came to Cedarville in the fall of 2021 with a declared major in Communication, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Would I like the classes? Would my major mesh well with my career goals and desires? These questions churned over and over again in my head. Was this the right choice?
I initially chose Communication because I was considering writing in public relations. I also had the impression that Communication was a more general field that would allow me to pursue all of my writing interests in whatever field I eventually chose. Because I wasn’t sure yet what options were available, I figured Communication was a safe choice.
I perused the Cedarville University website briefly looking for writing-related majors, but I was stuck. I considered Professional Writing and Information Design, but I didn’t exactly know what it entailed. Ever since I was a child, I loved working with words and art. Early on, I knew writing and editing were what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. I enjoyed helping my friends edit their papers and stories, and I always dreamed about owning my own publishing company one day. However, I wasn’t completely sure whether Communication was what I was looking for. Maybe it didn’t focus on writing as much as I hoped. Was I going to have to end up changing my major after all? Worries about getting books on time and meeting new professors kept me frozen in doubt. I needed clarity, and I found it in a surprising way. Cedarville’s Department of Communication hosted a freshman event a few days after orientation. During this meeting was where I made my decision to switch to Professional Writing and Information Design, also known as PWID.
I think, in some small way, I knew deep down that I wasn’t completely sure Communication was right for me. Ever since I was young, I wanted to be a writer and editor. PWID gave me the opportunity to learn to be a great writer. My dreams had always been specific; I just didn’t know how to reach them. Communication seemed like an interesting major, and I still think it’s such a great major, but I didn’t know if it was really what I wanted, and I couldn’t exactly put my finger on why. Part of me kept wondering if there was something else out there that was a much better fit. However, I didn’t know where it was or how to find it. What helped was that I was open-minded about it, and if you’re unsure about your major, keeping an open mind to other possibilities can’t hurt. Think about what you like to do, what you’re good at, and what you’ve always dreamed about doing. Don’t let your fears limit you. College is about pursuing what you’re passionate about, wholeheartedly and without reserve. There are many different majors here that might suit your interests best. Don’t be afraid to think about majoring in something you may have previously never considered. You never know until you try it!
During the department meeting, I heard an in-depth preview of what each major was about. Our current department chair had us all at ease and laughing within minutes of his introduction. Before I even realized it, much of my stress and anxiety melted away, and genuine curiosity replaced it. What was this department all about and what did they have to offer? Maybe I would find confirmation that Communication was the right major after all, or maybe, I would find it was not where I needed to be.
I watched as representatives from each major came up and shared their prepared presentations and became more excited the longer I listened. One in particular stood out to me–and that was the Professional Writing major. An enormous wave of relief washed over me as I heard more and more about the major and its specific concentrations: Copywriting, Editing and Publishing, and Technical Writing. Here was a major that seemed so closely aligned with what I had been dreaming about for so long. I simply had to learn more. After the meeting, I stayed behind to talk to one of the Communication professors. It only took a few minutes of talking with one of them for us both to realize that PWID was what I had been really searching for all along. And since I hadn’t even started any classes yet, switching was simple. I was positively starry-eyed. It seemed too good to be true.
Most of the general education classes were filled up, and that meant I got to experience a wonderful taste of my major right into the first semester. During one of these classes, Intro to Professional Writing, I had an assignment in which I had to research my dream job and write about what it would be like to work for this company or in this position in the future. Our class then took a closer look at what the three Professional Writing concentrations had to offer and thought through which one we might want to pursue. While this might not be the case for you, I can say that this first taste solidified my decision once and for all. This is what I wanted and this is where I needed to be.
If you’re still deciding or wondering if PWID is right for you, I’d definitely encourage you to give it a shot. Maybe you’ll find a home right here in this tiny, creative, passionate major, just like I did.
About the author
Marielle Payton is a freshman from Vienna, Virginia, right outside Washington, D.C. In addition to writing, she also loves figure skating, learning new languages, and reading antique comic books.