Why Every Student Should Write

Why Every Student Should Write

"Writing, properly understood, is thought on paper…"
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Unless someone considers themselves a writer, they typically don't write, except for academic papers and school-related assignments. Writing is often seen as a tedious task that one may only do because it is part of a class assignment, a class required by the state or even the university they may be attending. However, if we remove from our minds the preconceptions that we have about writing, consider the question, "Why do we write?" Think about the reason that throughout our schooling, from elementary to college we have been required to write in an academic setting. The California Writing Project, an organization to help improve the learning and teaching of writing in the state of California, calls writing, "…the principle tool available to us for clarifying and refining our thoughts." Similarly, The National Commission on Writing put forth a publication called The Neglected "R": The Need For A Writing Revolution. In that publication, they say, "Writing, properly understood, is thought on paper… the reward of disciplined writing is a mind prepared to think." With clarifying and refining our thoughts, and preparing our minds to think, it should be obvious how valuable writing is in education and the learning process. Think about this now. If writing is so helpful in terms of education and the learning process in our schooling, how valuable could it be in the general learning about the world and about oneself? This is why I think that every college student should write, even if it's just a personal journal recording their thoughts, ideas, and goals. The general act of writing, even in a casual way, has a series of positive effects on the writer and can be very beneficial to their professional and personal life.

Writing on a regular basis has been proven to improve people's communication and give them a greater appeal in the professional and business world. Time magazine presented a study done by Grammarly on 100 profiles on the business network, LinkedIn. In this study, Grammarly shows that the LinkedIn accounts with more grammatical errors had a lower chance of being promoted than those with less grammatical errors. This should be an obvious fact, but it's one that is quite often overlooked. However take into consideration the natural human error, even a regular writer like myself, makes simple grammatical errors. However, writing regularly can help recognize those errors and will greatly reduce the chance that errors will occur. For example, two main uses of writing in the business world are resumes and emails. Grammatical errors in either of those would most likely move a future employer to believe the individual is not suited for a professional environment and isn't fit to communicate on a higher level. Writing regularly would not only reduce grammatical errors, but also improve the communication of the writer, how they think, speak, analyze and converse. This not only makes them more appealing to employers, but also becomes a valuable asset in the business community with the ability to communicate and think in a professional environment.

If we think of writing how the California Writing Project defines it, and use it to clarify and refine our thoughts, the act of personal journaling would greatly benefit one's personal life in the decisions they must make and to comprehend all the ideas filling their heads. As college students, we are in a very defining moment of our lives where we experience the world in new ways and are presented with diverse ideas and unique experiences. As a writer myself, I have found that personal writing and journaling has been incredibly beneficial in allowing me to process these new ideas and experiences and utilize each new moment as a learning experience. I purchased a journal from my university's bookstore at the beginning of October, last semester. Since that day, I have filled over 100 pages of personal journaling and documenting my life. This has been the single most influential experience in my personal growth. Allowing myself to not just have these experiences, but also to think about them and analyze them has been extremely beneficial. I encourage every college student to do the same and write about anything they wish to think about more. I've written about faith, family, frustrations and quite often my inquiries and confusion about the female gender. My journal has brought me to think more, process the world around me and led me on a literary journey of finding myself, who I am and who I want to be. Also, it has opened my eyes to new possibilities and different viewpoints in which I otherwise may never have considered. I believe this has helped me to become a more understanding, well rounded thinker, and communicator with not only my peers, but also professors and employers.

For these two reasons, I encourage each and every college student to take up personal writing, for their professional and personal benefit. Beginning is simple. Find a notebook you would enjoy writing in, find a writing utensil you would like to write with and begin. Do not think that the first writings must be spectacular or incredibly prolific. As any beginner, the work should be raw and full of heart and purpose, not perfection. However, make it personal, stay true to oneself and let it be expression and a journey of self. Writing is a place where no one has to hide or be anything but who they are and who they want to be. When I first began writing regularly, I never considered myself to be a writer, nor did I believe I deserved the title. However, in the last semester and throughout the last six months, not only have I discovered how much I love to write, but I also finally decided to declare my major and get a degree in writing. Who knows what could happen, writing opens up new doors and new possibilities and could even inspire a future career. It won't be known unless it's tried. Go for it. Go write.

Cover Image Credit: Cullen Dunning

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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3 Things i learned at pride in NYC

The people, the flags, and the glitter are even more magical in person.

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On Sunday, June 24th, my girlfriend, my best friend and I, all hopped on a train to the World Trade Center in New York City. After a short subway ride, we arrived at 16th Street, where the parade festivities began. Dressed in our decked out rainbow attire, we entered a vibrant crowd of flag wielding, self-loving having, beautiful people. Pride is something the LGBTQIA+ community knows how to celebrate well. Lesbihonest, I think its safe to say that the LGBTQ+ community essentially created loving yourself, along with embracing those around you, whether you know them or not. While at Pride, I learned a few things about myself, about how to love others, and what it means to be apart of a community.

1. Love thy neighbor

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Because pride is such an important event to the LGBTQIA+ community, the number of people that attend each year is increasing by the thousands. There were an expected 48,000 people this year and when you're amerced in such a large crowd keeping your cool is super important. I learned that in most cases, giving love will result in receiving it, especially in 84-degree weather. So when I was making my way through energetic crowds, I used my p's and q's and was met with the same energy from strangers.

2. At pride, the dress code is no dress code

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If you're in the mood to wear your birthday suit, glitter, or witty t-shirt and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community as a member or as an ally, pride is the place to be! The extravagant outfits and expression of self-pride through clothes and even lack of clothes made me feel extremely comfortable in my own outfit. I think we all have had our share of being uncomfortable in our skin or clothes, but being around thousands of people dressed in whatever made them most comfortable that day was a beautiful experience.

3. Pride is not solely about the LGBTIA+ community

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Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit organization that organizes New York City's LGBT pride events each year, strives to work towards creating a future that consists of equal rights for all under the law. The march is an annual civil rights demonstration that brings awareness to the fight against aids, the Black Lives Matter movement and memorializes those who have lost their lives to illness, violence and neglect. This year over 450 different organizations participated in the march and about 110 floats were shown, each float bringing awareness to different organizations.

As an Afro-Latina, lesbian, I felt very represented and extremely grateful to participate in a civil rights event such as pride. The opportunity to educate myself and even feel more comfortable in my own skin, and enjoy myself with the people I love most, is something I will truly cherish. Hopefully, my experiences and knowledge will expand next year at the 2019 NYC pride!

Cover Image Credit:

Em Goss

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