To my Argumentative and Research Writing English professor I met on my first day of freshmen year in college, you shattered my hopes and dreams.
Pierce College Puyallup. You were the first college professor I had met, it was for your 9:00 a.m. class in the fall of 2015. I was fresh out of high school, and the class wasn't even an hour long. You introduced yourself, said you worked as the middle man for a publishing agency. Writers send their work to you and if the work met the guidelines, you sent it to the publisher.
After class ended at 9:50 a.m., I asked if I could talk with you. You said yes. I told you I'm going to school to study creative writing, my dream is to become an author — that I love to write fiction. I asked you for advice when sending work to be published. I asked you what the process of sending work to publications was like. I asked if you could tell me anything about how the publishing world works.
"First off, if you want to be a writer, don't. It's a competitive field and you will not make it. I would consider trying for a different major, or at least study something else alongside that. Maybe keep writing as a hobby or something."
I left your class feeling crushed, hopeless and confused. My tuition was being paid by financial aid and scholarships. I didn't want to waste the money I worked so hard in high school to get. I found my passion in writing, and you told me not to follow it. I couldn't afford to pay for college. Coming from a low income family, college wasn't even in the picture for me. I work hard, battling depression and anxiety, doing everything to pass classes I didn't want to take in high school and applying for scholarships I didn't think I could get. When I received the scholarship and grants, I had a little light of hope. You snuffed that light out in a matter of minuets.
Sophomore year. It's my third class of the day, I'm tired and want to go home. Creative Writing I. I had continued studying creative writing against your advice. Nothing else interested me. My professor, C.W., had advice different from yours.
"If you want to be a writer, an author, a poet, do it. But know you will get rejected. For every one acceptance there are 100 rejections. But someone will take your work. You just have to find that person. Send out your work, keep trying. Someone will take you."
Following her advice, I continued to study creative writing. C.W. encouraged me to submit my work to SLAM, the college's literary arts journal. I sent in a play I wrote for her class. It got accepted. I got accepted to both Pacific Lutheran University and University of Washington. I chose University of Washington Tacoma. I applied for housing. I was accepted. I submitted a short story and two poems to SLAM with the encouragement of C.W. I was graduating but still a student during the submission period. They were accepted.
Junior year in college, I meet professor JM who I followed throughout my two years at UW. Almost all my creative writing classes have been under them. They encouraged me to submit to Tahoma West, University of Washington Tacoma's literary arts journal. They also encouraged me to apply to be Editor-in-Chief for the 2018–2019 academic year. I submitted photography, and it got accepted. I applied for the job and was hired.
Senior year, as Editor-in-Chief Tahoma West hosted more events in three months than previous staff have in a year, got a one year acceptance to wear stoles at graduation, and printed the largest issue at 200 pages in the journals history. I had a play, two photographs and four poems published in Tahoma West my senior year. I'll be graduating with a BA in Writing Studies with a creative writing emphasis, and I work for Odyssey as a content creator.
You told me to not follow my dreams, but you taught me when someone tells me I can't do something I want to do, I need to do everything in my power to do what I want anyway. You taught me to not hold back and to go for my dreams despite what people say.
You told me I wouldn't make it. You were wrong.
To anyone out there who has had someone tell them that they can't make it, that they won't make it, here is my advice to you. Keep going, because you can do it. It might not be today or tomorrow, but you will do it. You just have to try, put in the effort, and you will make it.
We will all make it.