Freshman year is mostly filled with general classes, unrelated to your actual interests and future career. When you finally start your English major, it can be scary- wondering what to expect, what this entails and what careers you could potentially have. These are some of the feelings I experienced when first starting out as an Editing, Writing, and Media major. Although EWM was not my first choice, I have come to love and have learned a lot through this program at Florida State.
Learn to love reading
When first entering my sophomore year as an English major, I did not expect as much reading as there was. You’ll come to realize that professors in the EWM program assign a great deal of reading- which are not always fast or easy reads. Before starting this major, I truly did not enjoy reading as much as I did writing. After years of being an English major, I have learned to love reading. I’ve realized that professors assign so much reading because that is how you improve your writing- by analyzing and observing others’ work.
The English professors at FSU are often graduate students or young professionals, so they often assign modern and relatable works. Professors know how often and how much you will read in this program, so many of them try to assign interesting and exciting reads. In one class I took, we read current books like 13 Reasons Why, Holes, and Ready Player 1– to name a few. My professors at FSU have truly grown my interest in reading.
Don’t be embarrassed about your writing
When first homing in on your writing skills, it can feel embarrassing and awkward to read your essays aloud in class. Many of my professors at Florida State ask us to read our essays for the class to critique or to present them aloud. For a while I hated this teaching technique- I found it embarrassing and useless. But in reality, my professors have taught me that reading your work aloud is a great way to observe your writing from another perspective and to get feedback from others. One of the biggest tips I have is to never be embarrassed by your writing. When your professor asks someone to read their essay aloud, I recommend volunteering and taking the opportunity to gain feedback and improve your work.
Join a writing club or organization
One of my favorite parts of being an English major at Florida State is the endless opportunities we have to improve our skills while building a resume. Florida State has a lot of student-run magazines and online blogs that aspiring writers, editors, photographers, or digital designers can join. Although you will not be paid for your position, joining one of these organizations is a great way to practice writing and editing, as well as finding your own personal style outside of academic essays. Any organization related to the Editing, Writing, and Media major will be a great addition to your resume as well as help you start creating pieces for a portfolio. Some popular organizations among EWM majors are Strike Magazine, Her Campus and The Odyssey Online. All of these platforms differ slightly, but I recommend talking to members involved and finding which one is right for you!
Take your workshops/conferences seriously
A common mistake I made when first starting out as an English major was not prioritizing workshops or one-on-one conferences with my professors. Don’t make the mistake of seeing these as “off-days,” but rather take yourself seriously and come prepared with questions and a well-edited draft. I’ve learned that the more effort and time you put into your first draft, the better your final draft will be. In-class workshops are a great way to obtain ideas for your writing and to receive critiques to improve your work.
Sitting at your computer alone will only give you a single perspective of your work, so try to take workshops early and gain the opinions of your classmates to create a polished piece. Likewise, when teachers set up conferences to discuss your paper, this is a great time to ask any questions or for their suggestions to improve your work. One of the best parts about being an English major at FSU is that despite whether you’re taking a 1000 or 4000 level class, almost every single professor will schedule conferences or workshops to help you with your writing before turning it in.
Save your portfolio
If you’re an Editing, Writing, and Media major at Florida State, it’s likely you will take ENC2135. This class is known to be the one in which students are asked to create an e-portfolio showcasing their work. Whether you like the pieces in your portfolio or not, I recommend saving the link to this page and continuing to add to it. As the years pass and your writing skills improve, you will have better pieces that you can add to the e-portfolio. This portfolio will be helpful for you in the future, especially when applying to internships or graduate schools. Your e-portfolio is a showcase of not only your writing and experience but also your graphic design skills. When your professor assigns this make sure to try your best to create a killer portfolio!
Keep an open mind career-wise
The best part about being in the Editing, Writing and Media major at FSU is the endless career opportunities at your reach! A common misconception that students have when entering this program is that you are limited to either a writing or editing career. With this major including so many different skills, students can partake in careers that include Technical Writing, Blogging, Editing, Social Media management, Creative Director, to name a few- your options are endless.
Do not be discouraged by people’s negative remarks when you say you’re an English major- you have so many opportunities with this degree and the help of other extracurriculars. The EWM program at FSU has made me a much stronger writer, taught me different Adobe programs, and set up my portfolio for future endeavors. If you are an English major just starting out, consider these tips to make your years at Florida State worth-while!
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Senior at FSU.