You’ve been writing a long time. For as long as you can remember. All you want to do, you’re certain, is become a writer. But doesn’t everybody go to school to get a degree in English or something?
That’s not what you want. You want to write. Is it worth paying all that money and spending all that time and energy studying something you never even want to use professionally?
College is essential, regardless of your chosen career path. If you’re thinking about not even giving it a go, keep thinking. Getting a degree, even as an aspiring writer, is more beneficial to your future self, and your career, than you might realize. College, these days, is inevitable.
But don’t let that discourage you from a bright future as a writer. Here are a few things you’ll learn along the way, things that will make four years of stress and hard work worth the time, money and effort.
You’ll learn the most effective speaking and writing strategies
College students spend a lot of time complaining about papers, projects and presentations without stepping back to realize the skills they’re developing in the process. Even if you’re not in a creative writing class or writing articles every week, that doesn’t mean you’re not still learning how to structure and present arguments on a variety of topics.
Professors don’t just give out those assignments to have something to grade. Regardless of the subject matter, college courses teach you the most effective writing and speaking techniques out there. You’ll need them to pitch story ideas and carry yourself professionally, even if you do find a way to make a full-time career out of writing.
You’ll learn how to work with all kinds of people
Two words: group projects. You probably have yet to meet anyone who loves them, and that’s exactly the point professors try to make when assigning projects to be completed in groups. Again, it’s not just to make grading easier. It’s to teach you an important life lesson, over and over … and over again.
In your lifetime, you will work in groups. All the time. You will work with people who put way too much effort into every little thing, and you will work with people who do their best to get away with participating as little as possible.
It’s not exclusive to schoolwork. As a writer, you’ll work with all kinds of people: agents, editors, other writers, people who love their jobs as much as you hopefully do, as well as people who don’t. College prepares you for this much more efficiently than you’ll initially realize. Just push through it. You will not regret it.
You’ll learn what you do and do not want to do career-wise
Many students embark on their collegiate endeavors thinking they know exactly where they’re headed and what they want to do after graduation. Many of them change their minds, sometimes more than once in a four-year time span. Taking a variety of courses, both in your major and outside of it, will introduce you to a whole new world of possibilities you may have never even considered before.
Without that experience, you might actually end up struggling to find where you fit in the publishing world. The best way to figure out what you do and don’t want to do is to learn about the industries and careers available to you. As an aspiring writer, you might start out in marketing, PR, administration, some career you never thought you wanted. Often, though, laying a foundation early on gives you the freedom to build your portfolio and continue to write, which will, most likely, come in handy later.
Even freelance jobs want to see that you have a degree in English, journalism or communications. There is no escape. But you won’t regret taking the time to write a little less to study a little more. It will all be wroth it. We promise.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.