Today in my capstone course Aaron Alford, the Managing Editor for Southern Humanities magazine, came to speak to the class. Southern Humanities is the quarterly, literary, journal staffed by graduate students based right here in my beloved Auburn University, and until today I had no idea it existed. (That last statement isn’t entirely true, I had heard of the journal in passing but I didn’t really know much about it.)
Mr. Alford offered advice on everything from following your dreams of editing literature, to how he got started. The discussion was something that I very much needed to hear. Everyday I get just a little bit closer to graduation and the closer the day gets the more stressed out I become.
I appreciated the talk that Mr. Alford gave today. He mentioned different experiences that he has had working for Southern Humanities and I found comfort in the fact that I have had some of the same encounters working for the Circle. The biggest takeaway that I got from today’s talk was to be confident going out into the workforce.
Most people don’t really understand my major or what I can and intend to do with it. Everyone usually tries to persuade me to pursue something more “practical” a technical writing job to follow my technical writing degree.
That’s exactly what I’m doing people!
The day to day for a technical writer/editor might seem dull to you when I explain that in a job I will codify information and write and or edit it for the consumption of an audience, but that is exactly what I plan to do. I work with all forms of writing technical and otherwise. What I have learned over the years is that people don’t typically associate non-technical writing with monetary success, unless of course the writer in question is on a bestsellers list. There is the starving writer character, such as portrayed by Bradley Cooper in The Words that struggles to make ends meet that I can see pop into the mind of a person when I tell them what I do. That reaction can be discouraging, especially when it comes from those who are already secured in their careers. Mr. Alford was the opposing voice today, telling us to trust our capabilities as writers, and assuring us that they are not only sufficient but highly seemed after in the professional world.
The point is not every young writer/editor struggles to find work. I am confident that my skills in technical writing and editing will lead to success, and thanks to Mr. Alford I can stress a little less and focus on graduation and applying for positions. Maybe it’s corny but the follow your dreams talk is one that I firmly believe that everyone should hear, especially those of us who are just leaving the comforts of college.
Today was a good day.