As a student, I’ve always felt more content completing work that involves open-ended responses rather than answering multiple choice questions or solving problems (who’s with me?). As a person, I’m interested in the art of piecing words together to sound professional, funny, or emotional. There are so many channels for conveying messages through writing: directly or satirically; full of figurative language or straight to the point; poems, short stories, media articles, and more. Writing has always been a strong skill of mine (according to my mother at least). Even though the writing process can sometimes be a drag, the feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment I receive after completing a piece has always been worth it. Whether I’m writing a fun, laid-back article for Slope, a high-stakes research paper, or timed written essay for those horrid AP exams, I’ve always felt comfortable synthesizing my thoughts into words. It all starts with a word vomit, followed by many rounds of revision and refinement. When writing, there is no right or wrong answer. Sure, depending on the purpose, it might be necessary to follow a specific structure or include certain ideas. In the end, however, words are on paper, and they’re capable of creating a profound impact on how other people think.
This semester I am taking COMM 2310: Writing for Communication, which is precisely what it sounds like: a writing class for Communication majors. On the first day of class, our professor asked us to raise our hands if we considered ourselves writers; I would say less than half of my peers raised their hands. This was surprising, considering that the course is strictly focused on the writing process and contains only Communication students. For some reason, it seems like people are embarrassed or hesitant to self-identify as writers. Maybe they plainly don’t enjoy the process of writing essays or stories that are due for a class. I agree, it can be excruciating. We could also bring up the whole STEM vs. Liberal Arts ~debate~ and how one “side” sometimes devalues the other for various reasons…but we won’t get into that. It’s unnecessary and it’s unfair, and I personally feel that even if you don’t relish in the writing process itself, there are many other ways to appreciate and participate in it.
I consider myself a writer. I write articles, essays, and stories, but also emails, texts, and even Instagram photo captions (which I must admit are quite amusing). Whether or not you believe it, we are all writers. Being a ~writer~ doesn’t necessarily mean that you spend your spare time wearing Harry Potter specs, sitting on window sills, sipping chai lattes, and scripting away for hours on your latest romance novel or short story. Considering yourself a writer has nothing to do with what your profession is. Simply put: you don’t have to be a journalist or a novelist and receive a paycheck to earn the title. You just have to be yourself, and there is no shame in that.
We all have smartphones; we all have social media. If you’re reading this, then you have access to the Internet, where I’m sure you’ve shared content with friends on Twitter or Facebook and added a message to go along with it. You’re also probably a Cornell student, who at some point or another has emailed a professor or written a paper for a class. Writing is merely the act of translating your thoughts into words, and it doesn’t always take loads of time to do that. The written word is also the most fundamental form of human communication, so don’t devalue it! This is becoming a pretty tedious argument, but let’s face it: we all write, therefore we are all writers. Whether we choose to embrace it or not, writing is a part of who we are.