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I love it when people ask me what my major is. It’s got to be one of my favorite questions, especially if I find out they’ve read my Her Campus articles. Those readers often assume that I’m majoring in journalism. So it’s funny to see people’s reactions when I reply, “No, I’m double majoring in marketing and advertising.” Confusion usually forms and spreads across their face. Then comes my second favorite question, “Then why would you write?”

Now, if you had asked me in high school if I was ever going to join an organization like Her Campus to write articles every week, I would’ve laughed in your face. Writing was simply not enjoyable. This primarily stemmed from all of the requirements and restrictions that accompanied most high school writing assignments. I, like most people my age, wrote to pass a class. I wrote my college essays. I wrote to fill out applications. I wrote about the symbolism in the book The Great Gatsby. I wrote in people’s yearbooks. You get the idea. We wrote mostly because it was required. After graduating high school, I assumed I’d only write to fulfill yet another obligation of sorts. I indeed wouldn’t be coerced into writing for enjoyment. Ha, that’s laughable.

Fast forward two months, I arrived at Florida State University and enrolled in two summer classes—microeconomics and ENC 2100, the English class that most students are required to take if they didn’t pass the AP exam in high school, which I sadly didn’t pass. Anyhow, on the first day of classes, I was so nervous because not only was it my first college class, it was English, which meant writing. So when Mrs. Randle, my ENC teacher, stated that our first assignment would be to write a literary narrative, I groaned out loud. To make matters worse, the assignment was to write about our writing experiences, meaning that I would be writing about my negative experiences with writing. So after careful consideration, I decided to go ahead and write about my real hate for writing. I’m not joking; I remember my essay began with “I DESPISE WRITING.” That assignment was actually a very cathartic experience, but once I completed the paper and submitted it, I started having regrets. I was worried that my teacher would not find my honesty to be very acceptable. Even worse, I worried that she might publicly ridicule me in front of the class.

Two days later, Mrs. Randle stopped me on my way into class and told me she needed to discuss my paper with me after class. My heart stopped. I started silently cursing at myself, knowing precisely that my immediate future was about to be dismal. I started thinking, “I knew you should’ve chosen a different angle; you thought it would be SOO brilliant, to be honest, and spill your guts about your awful writing experiences, YOU IDIOT. It’s your second week at FSU, and you are skating on thin ice.” I don’t even remember what we covered in class that day because my head was filled with flashes of awkward horrors. That day class went by surprisingly fast, which I did not appreciate, given that meant I had to face the wrath of Mrs. Randle.


Overhead view of Students In Class
Photo by Mikael Kristenson from Unsplash

Everyone hurried out of class while I sat in my seat, patiently waiting for Mrs. Randle to address me. I much appreciated that she didn’t speak a word until after the last student vacated the room. She began with what is now one of my favorite questions, “What’s your major, Ms. Kirby?” My voice cracked, “marketing and advertising.” She smiled at me and said, “You sure about that?” All I could think is, “What trap is this lady from Alabama setting me up for?” After a moment of silence, she said, “Yeah, no. You need to write.” I thought, “Excuse me? What did she say?”

My head was filled with recently rehearsed rebuttals, but not for that statement. So I politely said, “But I don’t like writing.” “Well,” she continued, “I had some of my colleagues in the English Department read your paper, and they would disagree with you.” I didn’t quite know how to react or if maybe I was being punked. It sounded nice. I was flattered, but I also had that overwhelming imposter feeling. Simultaneously, I felt slightly betrayed because she had shown my paper about how I HATE writing to a group of English professors. Cringe. There wasn’t much said after that as I had to process what had just transpired. Mrs. Randle made me question my beliefs, which had been 15 years in the making, about writing.


Journaling
Photo by My Life Journal from Unsplash

I’d never viewed it as cathartic, which could potentially make it enjoyable, but might I possibly be good at it too? This was a lot to unpack. Fast forward through that summer, Mrs. Randle gave us so many insights into how best to approach writing. She had tricks to help us write freely, and she validated our awful past writing experiences. She was like a therapist and a professor all in one. Her introduction to the “sh*tty first draft” blew my mind as it allowed us to write without boundaries and restrictions and then refine it as part of a process. Mostly, Mrs. Randle convinced me that perhaps I could learn to enjoy something I had been determined to hate.

Writing isn’t for everyone, but I think most everyone would benefit from it. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when writing falls somewhere between fun and torture, but like most things, it’s really about your attitude towards it. And yes, as much as I’ve changed my beliefs about writing, I’ll continue to major in marketing and advertising as I enjoy these disciplines, too. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing on the side because it’s kind of enjoyable.

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Hey, I'm Taylor Kirby! I'm a sophomore double majoring in Marketing & Advertising at FSU. You can find me in my room mourning the loss of "Vine" as I pretend I don't know almost every Tik Tok dance.