Then and now: one English student’s creative metamorphosis

Commentary

As I write this, my farewell-tothe-Griffon-News commentary, I admit I am sorely tempted to write a poignant, perhaps borderline trite, review of my various experiences on staff. No doubt, I have made enough memories in this crazy office to fill my slot on this page, but I’d like to dig a little deeper.

When I came on staff four semesters ago as a graphic designer, I had a very different philosophy on writing than I do now. I had never written anything but blog ramblings and bland poetry with perfect rhyme schemes. I believed writing should be organic and not forced.

I joined the Griffon News only after I found out one of my other classes was full, and was told there was a scholarship waiting for me if I worked for the paper.

I remember rolling my eyes at my father, who told me I had talent, but I could be so much better with formal training.

What did he know, right?

Well, as the last two years have zipped past me, I have acquired a modest amount of wisdom, much of which sounds scandalously plagiaristic of advice my parents have given me in the past.

Over the last four semesters, I’ve become an award-winning journalist and a published poet.

Yes, even the non-rhyming, artsy kind of poet. I can attribute that metamorphosis to my poetry class with Bill Church. The Griffon News, poetry class, Beginning and Advanced reporting have all convinced me that organic and un-pressured writing tends to be my weakest.

Anything I’ve ever received recognition for was squeezed out of me.

I hated it, but have learned so much about myself in the process.

I have also learned how important it is to have a group of supporters to encourage me. My family and friends give me the motivation I need to give my very best. Because I know there’s always the risk of disappointing them, I can’t allow myself to settle for mediocrity, and when I have, I have hated myself for it.

Along with cheerleaders, it is essential for any writer to have those helpful critics on hand to keep you sharp and humble.

So, in short, these last four semesters have been enlightening ones.

I have learned to create under pressure, work with a group toward a creative goal, I’ve found my writing style and have been humbled enough times that I’m finally learning to humble myself before someone else has to. Even if I didn’t walk away with a degree two semesters from now, this education would have been well worth the effort.

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