majors

Tips for the Writing Majors

July 2, 2015 in Academics, Alive Campus

Choosing the right major is probably the most essential part of college. Some students immediately know what they want to study, while some may switch it around 10 times before finally being sure of what they want to do. Either way is completely okay as long as you eventually find your track. I am currently an Editing, Writing, and Media major at the Florida State University, preparing to enter my senior year. After being a part of the major for 3 years, it’s safe to say that there are both pros and cons to the major, just like any other. I chose to study this during my college application process when I was a senior in high school, and never even thought to switch over to another major the past three years. Fortunately, it’s something that I’ve always been set on studying.

The major itself is fundamentally for those who want to go into some form of publishing, whether that’s with magazines, digital websites, etc. Internships that several students experience at FSU are usually within publishing houses, and it’s actually required that we have at least one internship that we receive school credit for prior to graduation if we choose to study EWM. My suggestion is to do an office internship in addition to a digital internship so you can experience both and see what works best for you.

The major is not necessarily difficult like that of organic chemistry, but it’s extremely time consuming since it’s mostly all papers and intricate digital projects that involve programs like Photoshop and InDesign. The several assignments are essentially what your grades are based on as opposed to tests like that of most majors. The positive aspect is that you don’t have to stress out over one simple test affecting your grade, but this can also be a good or a bad thing depending on how good a test taker you are. The most important thing to remember is to not pile yourself with all writing classes in one semester, or you will be swamped every night writing some type of paper or reading 300 pages a night. Spread it out and take your electives as you’re doing your major classes each semester. By doing so, you have at least one class that doesn’t involve so many time-consuming assignments.

There will always be classes in each major that seem pointless, and EWM is no different. I’ve had very helpful ones that improved my writing and digital skills drastically, but I’ve also had history of writing classes that weren’t very beneficial to what I plan to do in life. Unfortunately, if it’s required within the major in order to graduate, it has to be completed. The major also requires a minor to go alongside it since it’s it does not take up an abundance of credits, so some students will even choose to double major. I chose the route to have two separate minors- Italian and Communications, since I wanted to study both and have variety of areas of study to include on my resume. It’s also important to note that the major requires you take three years of one language. My suggestion is to stick to languages like Italian or Spanish, unless you’re passionate about learning the more difficult ones like French or Chinese.

What I personally like about this unique major at FSU is that it’s not exactly Journalism. It strictly focuses on writing and digital work within the media, while Journalism is generally broader in that it includes radio and television as well. Editing, Writing, and Media does not. If you want to go into professions like reporting or television, then Communications is probably the better option. The two are certainly different from one another, so it’s something to keep in mind if you specifically are interested in writing and publishing.

In the end, I’d say that EWM is the perfect major for what I plan to do in regards to my dream profession. I currently have an internship at a major publishing house in NYC, in which I am receiving school credit. Remember that it’s not unusual to change your major several times before settling. It’s just another part of the whole college process!

Choosing a Major

Choosing a Major

The Meeting of Two Majors

February 16, 2015 in Academics, Alive Campus, Career, Colleges

Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved writing so when I came to college it was easy: I would be an English major. I had no idea what type of job that I would get with this major, but I just knew that’s what I was good at and that’s what I wanted to do. As I started going through these literature surveys and creative writing classes, I began to notice that I liked it because it made sense to me and it was easy to me. Then, Sophomore year I took a marketing class just for fun because I needed a Gen Ed and that seemed pretty interesting. So, I made it through the class and ended up being more interested in it than I thought. I had actually received more credit as a freshman because I took college classes at a university my senior year of high school, so I thought – why not do both and add marketing as a minor? To my surprise, I actually had exactly enough credits to MAJOR in both if I did everything right, so I went for it. Majoring in both Marketing and English may seem a bit odd, but I’ve found that it’s the perfect combination of two worlds that leaves me with many different skills and outlooks. Here is your guide to both majors:

Left vs. Right Brain

Left vs. Right Brain

The Ins and Outs of Being an English Major:

Nobody majors in English for the money so if you choose this you obviously like writing or reading or a combination of both. At most schools there are two majors under this, one being English Lit and the other English mass communications. Usually people who want to be teachers choose lit and everyone else chooses mass comm. Here are some things that you should NOT do:

1. Major in english because you think that it is easy: it’s not. You will have to put in a TON of work and if you don’t enjoy reading or writing you will hate it.

2. Major in English because you want to be a teacher and it’s the easiest subject to teach: I honestly don’t think this is the easiest subject to teach, because there are no right or wrong answers and for some reason kids in school seem to be more fond of science and math. At my school everyone and their mother majors in English with a concentration in teaching and there are only a few who choose to major in science or math because of the “rigorous” coursework. If you don’t absolutely love English the coursework will seem even more rigorous and it isn’t really fair to your future students to teach something you don’t really care about.

Even if it seems as though English is easy on the outside, it can be very time consuming and frustrating. You will spend hours writing a paper only to have it shredded apart by your professor who has a PhD in English, and you will have to read entire books in one week. If you really love it though, it’s so worth it to make it through these classes and to grow as a great reader/writer/observer. There will be classes you love and hate. For me I loved my creative/poetry classes and wasn’t really a fan of Shakespeare but hey I got through it. English classes also have some of the best professors that I have ever had. They are always so unique and smart and really seem to care about their students overall.

Warning: Like any major, there will be ONE class that weeds out who should be in the major and who should re evaluate what they are doing. For me, it was a class called reading and interpretation. We had to read James Joyce’s “Ulysses”, which if you’re familiar with the book it’s very difficult to read. A lot of people in my class had a hard time and thought that it was pretty difficult. I also thought i was pretty hard,  but I loved every minute of it. I don’t think I have ever worked so hard in a class because it was so challenging and interesting at the same time. When you get to this point you will be able to tell if the major will make or break you.

Marketing: The Easiest Business Major?

After I decided to major in marketing, I was pleased to find that it was the only business major that didn’t require calc 2 or extensive accounting classes, so I was relieved. I already knew that math and economics weren’t my strong skills, but I figured if I tried hard enough I could get through it. Marketing at my school is very broad, but it requires the same core business classes as the other majors such as accounting, finance, economics, calc etc. Although these classes were difficult for me, I managed to get through them and felt so much smarter because I knew the basics of all of them. Most of the time people that are good at English are bad at business subjects and vice versa. I felt a lot better knowing that I was exposed to a lot of quantitative skills that I wouldn’t have gotten in just English classes.

Some may say that marketing is easy, but I really think it depends on who you are. You don’t really get much homework, but higher up marketing classes usually require a huge group presentation at the end of the semester that you work on continuously. These projects are usually worth half of your grade or more so it can be pretty intimidating to present them if you’re not prepared.

Key Skills:

1. Know how to present: You will have multiple presentation in all of your marketing classes, because that’s pretty much what marketing is based around.

2. Work well in groups: Marketing is ALL group projects. You can’t keep to yourself and you’re expected to contribute and put in work.

3. Be interested in the field: Marketing is a major that you will only succeed in if you are highly interested. It’s still fairly new, and is always changing, so if you don’t keep up with it you will become disinterested and lost.

Marketing draws a lot of people to it because it’s the interesting and “fun” business major. Accounting and finance leave you sitting at a desk crunching numbers, management is pretty straightforward, but marketing is always changing and there are so many different jobs under marketing to consider. Personally, I like marketing because public relations, graphic design, and advertising all fall under this major so there are a lot of options.

Combining both

I am so glad that I chose to double major in both English and Marketing because I feel like I had expanded my knowledge and capabilities. For example, I have taken creative writing and corporate finance in the same semester and have loved them both, which is something that I never thought would happen. Marketing gives me the opportunity to apply my love for writing in many ways because a lot of jobs under marketing require interesting, clear and fresh writing. Using these both I plan on going into public relations, copywriting, or editing. I hope that this encourages some of you to think outside the box when it comes to choosing majors and staying true to yourselves.

Advice on Being a Creative Writing Major

October 28, 2014 in Academics

Advice on Being a Creative Writing Major

Well, everyone has to choose a major in their lifetime of college. This major solely depends on how you feel your studies should go at your choice of college. Whether it is business or the arts, this will help (or not) shape your future career. I’ve known people who have broken the mold of their major to go on to do something completely different, so it’s really up to you as a person where you want to go with your life. However, I can give those tips on becoming a Creative Writing major!

What’s Different About This Major:

Depending on the school of your choice, the Creative Writing major might be a little different. Here at the University of Redlands, the Creative Writing major is offered as part of the English major, so English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. At other schools, Creative Writing may be in its own category completely. It’ll be good to check, considering where the emphasis may lie on how much you read vs. how much your write.

Most classes are designated into workshops. At Redlands, we like to have our once a week, 3 hour long workshops, while others may be hour and a half over two days. Personally, spreading out the time has not been as effective as having a three-hour workshop. However, it is nice to be able to spend more time out of class doing work.

This brings me to my next point. Sometimes, you’re not going to see a Creative Writing major out in the open. This makes sense, considering their work load consists of reading and writing. It’s very hard to accomplish these two tasks when people are around. The creative juices in most Creative Writing majors stem from deep inner thought, some privacy, and quiet. Those who can work around other people I applaud you, it’s extremely difficult to get a cohesive story when you’re friends are yelling about the world.

Is This Major For You?

I’m unsure. Most people that go into the Creative Writing major want to be a novel writer, but in actuality, it’s all about who is teaching the classes you’re writing for. At Redlands, it’s treated more like a graduate school program than an undergraduate program. There are workshops that allow you to get feedback from day 1 about the best of your work. This also develops the toughness of your skin when dealing with artistic people who may have a lot to say about your work. Novel writing can be accomplished through any other means, but most of the time, we’re reading novels written by published authors, not completed work by the students. If you want to write novels, you may have to do that in your own time. But, if you really enjoy the art of writing, the creative process behind it all, then you may want to check it out. This is no ordinary English major, this is focused centrally on the process of writing, where to go for publishing work, and making it in the world as a writer. It’s realistic and faculty shouldn’t be afraid to tell you what the low down is. Be careful, the Creative Writing major is not for the faint of heart, but it is for those who are passionate about furthering their work.

Future journalism major? Here are some tips for you!

October 17, 2014 in Academics, Career, Colleges

Journalism

Journalism

Unfortunately journalism receives a bad reputation when you tell people that it is the major you chose. You receive the comments like, “oh, really? That’s interesting, good luck with that.” It’s really frustrating because people associate journalism with newspapers. The profession of journalism isn’t dying it’s one of the mediums that journalism is produced on. So, for all of you potential journalism majors please keep that in mind. There are mediums out there that aren’t dying and the profession of journalism isn’t dying, just changing.

Here are some tips for you to do while you are in college to receive the most out of your education:

  • Begin networking – Starting early is not a bad thing at all. The more you begin to connect with people and get your name out there, the better. Make a name for yourself and establish contacts. By doing this, employers will recognize your name and doors will be open for internships and potential jobs.
  • Get involved – Find some type of campus media to get involved in. Whether it is print, broadcast or web it is a great idea to dip your toes into the media while in school. The sooner the better because building that experience will be incredibly valuable when applying for jobs in the future. You will have proof to future employers either by audio packages or paper clips that can show off your work.
  • Build strong relationships with faculty – Many of your professors in journalism classes have worked in the media before. They are extremely valuable to your success in the future because they have established connections during their careers that can help jump start yours. By giving your best effort in class and showing that you are a reliable student it will give a good impression to your professors about what type of worker you will potentially be. The chances of that professor will talk highly of you to an old co-worker.
  • Do well in your classes – Don’t settle for sub par grades because it will kill your GPA, by achieving a GPA above a 3.0 in all your classes and a 3.25 in all communication classes you will be eligible for membership in the National Honor Society for Communications Lambda Pi Eta. This is a great organization to be a part of and it will look really good on your resume.
  • Be passionate about your work – While writing stories, covering events or broadcasting be passionate about your story. By showing your passion in your work the audience will be more engaged in your story. By reading mundane boring parts of a story, you will lose your audience.

Don’t listen to the outside noise about the dying profession of journalism and that you picked a terrible major. There is plenty of hope out there for you. Whether it is through web based media, broadcast or the next great medium, journalism is not dying. Be active and try new things to tell your story to your audience because it could be something that could start a transformation throughout the media world.

Mastering your English or Psychology major

September 25, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Career, Top 10 Lists

Choosing a major can be a difficult and daunting task; it can be a challenge to combine your hobbies, interests, and talents, and channel them into one specific field. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a variety of classes in different subjects, so that you are exposed to all kinds of disciplines. If you decide to major in either English or Psychology, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Learn to love reading!

Learn to love reading!

1.    If you don’t already love reading, learn to love it.

This applies to both English and Psychology; be prepared to spend hours each week reading books, textbooks, articles, statements, you name it. Though it can become tedious for even the most avid reader, if you enjoy reading then you will be able to appreciate the texts you are assigned more (and you’ll probably be able to read them faster than the average student).

2.    Be prepared for the essays.

This is especially true for English majors; if you are taking two or three English classes a semester, then you’ll not only be reading a couple hundred pages each week, but you’ll be writing tons of papers about those short stories, novels, or poems. Though psychology classes usually incorporate tests, there may be writing involved as well – especially if you’re taking a class about research.

3.    Write. Write. Write.

If you’re majoring in English because you want to pursue a writing career or journalism, then you have to make time to write. Your language and writing won’t improve if you don’t practice, so you need to set aside time to produce work.

4.    Find an internship.

Internships are the best way to gain experience and knowledge about the field you want to pursue. Not only do they help your chances of finding a job after graduating, they may also show you a specific field you don’t want to work in. If you work at a magazine, you may find that you dislike editing and turn to designing or to revising other genres/types of work. In psychology, you may find that you really hate working with kids and that you’d rather focus on developments in adult psychology. Internships will help hone what you really want to do.

5.    Be ready to work with people

Both English and Psychology require interacting with other people; learn to communicate and know when to step up or take a step back. It’s important to know how to listen to other people’s ideas but also to advocate for your own.

6.    Don’t get discouraged.

To those of you who are writers – your work will get rejected and torn down innumerable times. Don’t get discouraged. Keep writing, keep submitting, and keep improving your writing.

The same goes for those in psychology; you will take classes that cover a huge amount of material and concepts that seem to go right over your head. The best thing to do is to go to your professor and talk with classmates – the best way to see if you actually understand something is to explain it to somebody else. Also, if you’re doing research, many of your experiments will prove insignificant. That’s normal: you have to weed through hypothesis’ that are irrelevant in order to find ones that truly make a difference.

7.    Don’t think about the money.

This applies to every field: don’t pursue a career just for the money. The economy and job security are worrisome for everyone, but it’s better to do what you love for a less amount of money, than to be well off and dreading each working day. Money may bring comfort, but it doesn’t bring happiness. Remember: you may have a job in the field you choose for life, so make sure you choose something you will be excited to do each morning.

A career you love > money

A career you love > money