We have found in the Writing Center that sometimes students who come to us with a recommendation by a professor to seek our help feel embarrassed to do so. “I wish we could do something to minimize the perceived stigma that improving your writing is somehow indicative of lack of intellect or academic promise,” says Writing Center Director Courtney Johnson-Woods.
The bottom line? Writing isn’t simply about remediation. It’s about learning how to best take what what you are thinking and conveying it to vastly different audiences and meeting various different goals for why you are writing to begin with. “We can and should all seek to improve our writing skills over the course of our lifetime,” says Woods who hopes the Writing Center benefits students across the continuum of skill development.
Case in point? “I can’t edit my own work (few of us can!),” notes Woods, who learned this the hard way in her PR career when she used the word “Pubic” instead of “Public” on a major campaign that was destined for billboards and brochures and press kits. “Pubic makes it through the spell check and if you copy and paste, pretty soon, you are copying and pasting your own gaffe!,” she notes saying fresh eyes on her work would have alleviated that near catastrophe.
Clarkson is always working to respond to what employers say they are seeking in employees, and solid communications tops the list. At the same time, according to numerous surveys nationally of top companies, many recent graduates aren’t ideally prepared.
We encourage you to make as your goal over the next four years the desire to improve your writing. Regardless of your major, writing is important. For those of you pursuing careers in engineering and believe you will never have to write beyond your Univ 190 class (who told you THAT?!), you may be writing reports, preparing proposals, submitting Request For Proposal funding applications, applying for National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, and you WILL be writing emails to your colleagues, your boss, clients, or a board of directors. Make learning this skill an important part of your four years — proactively. Come talk to us if you think there is room for improvement.
Fight the stigma that somehow seeking out collaboration on your written work or projects means you aren’t bright. That simply isn’t true.