The Writer Graduates

The Writer Graduates

The starving artist, they will call you.
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You have done something that most people will never understand. You have just graduated… with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing.

The starving artist, they will call you.

The struggling writer, they will call you.

When they picture your future, they will see dark rooms lit by single desk lamps, workspaces piled high with fluttering manuscripts, and you—hunched over, bags under your eyes and a red pen clenched in one fist. They see mountains of rejection letters and they feel your torment and they will wonder ‘Why did she decide to get a degree in writing?

Reality: you will face rejection and torment. But you knew this. You’re a writer. You’ve been thinking about it since you first decided to go for a writing degree all those years ago. But now you’re crossing the stage and shaking hands and wait a second, you actually have to go out there and make a living with this now.

It’s going to be all right. Like I said: you knew this. Four (or more) hard years of work are behind you, and before you is a life full of imaginative possibilities.

Two years ago, at a school event, an adult asked me what my major was, and I answered truthfully—writing.

“Oh…” he said. “What do you plan to do with that degree?”

A flash of rage passed over me. I managed to dampen my tone just before I spoke.

“Whatever I want,” I said.

It’s still true. I knew my rage was justified. It takes guts to go for an arts degree in a culture dominated by a moneymaking mindset. But the options are growing every day, and the key ingredient to making your way as a professional writer is persistence. Even if people call you a starving artist and a struggling writer, you must remember that's not the important part. Sticking with your passions and pushing to make them reality are what will keep you afloat.

Remember also that your writing degree is indeed worth something. It will get you interviews with businesses that are looking for writers with educational experience and involvement. It proves you had the focus and dedication to complete something huge, and are now willing to apply those skills to the workforce. It shows you can handle responsibility. And the amount of jobs related to writing is actually pretty high. Social media is a huge field, as is freelancing and even opportunities like guest blogging or book reviews. The jobs are out there. It might not be doctor or lawyer level pay, but once again: you knew this. You persist anyway.

A wise friend once said ‘If you can write, you’re already two steps ahead of anyone else.’

In other words, communication deserves far more credit than it gets. Take pride in your writing degree and aspire to use it however you wish. Writing is the most immortal prospect in all humanity, and you have chosen to be part of that immortality.

You’re an officially-recognized writer now. Step out there and write.

Cover Image Credit: Stocksnap.io

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.

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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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To The Ones Who Are Confused On How To Feel About Senior Year

It's a feeling where you don't know if you should have happy tears or sad tears... or maybe a little bit of both.

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Senior year is about to start, and it's such a bittersweet feeling. Summer is coming to an end, we're moving out of old apartments and houses and into new ones, and of course the question, "are you ready for school to start back?" is definitely being brought up multiple times a day.

Am I ready? Yes. No. Kind of.

My little brother is going to freshman orientation at the high school today. My mom came into my room and asked me if I could remember all the stuff I had to do when I went, and that's when it hit me… that was 7 years ago… holy crap. Where did time go?

Here lately it seems like everyone has been asking "oh when does school start back?" "Are you excited?" "Are you ready to enter the big girl world?"

Well to answer your question, yes but no. This is the most bittersweet feeling I have ever had about something.

So why am I answering yes? Because I can't wait to have all my friends back in town. I miss y'all like crazy; Oxford just isn't the same. Football – it's August and that means the countdown to football season is getting so much closer, and that is always exciting. Formals, swaps, date parties, bid day... all of that is exciting too, but then I just can't help but think… while all these things are so happy and so fun to look forward to having those countdowns for… this is also my last time to get to have those things – as a student at least.

So why do I answer no? Because it's my last summer before the real world, before me and all my friends get real jobs and follow our dreams, our last football season in The Grove as students, our last formals, date parties, bid day, all of that. We can't wait for these things to happen, but just knowing how fast junior year flew by… I'm a little worried senior year is going to be over in the blink of an eye.

This has really been something weighing me down because it does make me really sad to think about, and hearing people say "oh senior year, a year full of lasts" does not make it any better. All I know is this year I will be so much more appreciative of those slow days that I just want to get over with and the busy days that I'm running crazy just trying to get everything done in. I'll appreciate the little stuff and hold tight to the memories I have made and will make this year.

And to my friends, hurry up and get to Oxford so we can make senior year the best year yet!

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