Becoming An English Communications Major

“Dear Diary,

Yesterday, I turned fifteen years old. In my culture, when a girl turns fifteen we have a party called a “Quinceanera”. It is a coming of age ceremony.  Yesterday, I received and got to wear my first pair of high heels. I’m short and they made me feel powerful because I was finally tall. If I could, I would wear them every day to feel powerful…”

This was part of my last entry that I wrote in a diary I had kept since I was ten years old. For five years, I wrote down memories, feelings, and thoughts into a Lisa Frank diary.  I remember writing about buying my first lipstick, having my mom buy me my first bra, my first kiss, etc. Most entries in the diary were memories that made me feel like I was growing up.

I stopped writing in it towards the middle of my sophomore year in high school. That was the year that I got my first job. In the morning, I would go to school, then attend soccer practice, and go to work at 6:30. This was the routine I followed until the last week of my senior year. It became hard to keep up with my diary.

When I got to Armstrong, being a first generation college student, I had no idea what academic future to create for myself. I chose a major that did not interested me, but would provide me the most money in the future. I grew up in a lower class household with a single mother. She always wanted me to be a doctor, lawyer, or anything that would pay above six figures.

That is why for my first academic year I was a declared biology major and took thirty-six credit hour. I hated it. I spent all day studying for exams in which I could not get A’s in. I knew I needed a change.

Before my sophomore year, I decided I was going to have to switch majors. So, I started thinking about subjects that interested me. I thought about my childhood and how I would always excel in my writing and literature classes. I thought back to the diary I used to write in every day. It occurred to me that I liked writing. I just didn’t know what type of writing I liked to do. Thoughts like those made me decide to switch my major to English Communications.

When declaring an English Communications major, a person must choose one out of the four tracks in communications: Creative writing, Journalism, films studies, or technical communications. Neither creative writing or film studies caught my attention, so I decided to give Journalism a try.

In Spring 2016, I took a speech communications and a newswriting course. I found it interesting that both had similarities. In speech and news writing I was taught to introduce the “lead” at the beginning of a presentation or story. As I kept practicing this type of writing, I developed a penchant for it.

At the end of the semester, I received an A for both courses. I put in a lot of effort in both courses not only for the grade, but because I was genuinely interested in the material being taught. That is when I had the sudden realization that I enjoy writing non-fiction. I like writing about how-to do things. I like to inform people on current events and news. I like to write about new places opening around town. I like to write about my surroundings.

People say curiosity and experiences make a great journalist. It may be true. I am always looking to learn from my surroundings and experiences. Once I experience something (good or bad). I want to remember it forever. Currently, I do this by journaling like I did when I was ten and by writing for newspapers. Writing non-fiction allows me to record the experiences of others and mine. This is why I am an English Communications major with a focus in Journalism.

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