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.