When it comes to my major and my parents, I’m lucky. I never had to convince my mom or dad to let me be a Writing Seminars major at Johns Hopkins–they recognized the passion I had for writing from a young age and let me run with it. However, some young women might have a harder time convincing their parents that being a creative writing major is a good idea. Fear not. Here are 1o facts that will shine a positive light on creative writing as a major and help you convince you parents to let you follow your own dreams.
1. It’s challenging.
Contrary to the beliefs of our parents and our pre-med friends, majoring in creative writing in college is a difficult task. Responding to prompts and thinking creatively on a regular basis can take just as much energy and time as problem sets. Your creative work is also constantly evolving, which makes the process of writing and editing that much more challenging as you try to find your own specific style.
2. It’s rewarding.
Refining your voice and style just…feels good. As you move through increasingly difficult writing classes you grow as a writer and a person. Recognizing the improvements you’ve made, even small ones, is satisfying on an academic and personal level.
3. You’ll make the most amazing creative friends.
In high school, only a few of my friends really “got” my need to write and get my feelings down on paper. As a creative writing major, you’ll meet so many more people (regardless of whether they’re also writing majors) who understand that part of you. It will be comforting and inspiring to talk to them and get to know their reasons behind writing.
4. Creative writing majors are always willing to help each other.
As a creative writing major you can always find someone willing to read over a story of poem and help you make choices about style, theme, dialogue, anything. You can’t exactly be “collaborative” because pieces are so entirely your own, but you’ll always be able to get advice and support.
5. You’ll be able to connect with professors.
General bio and chem classes are typically filled with upwards of 200 students, and it can be hard to reach the professor. When you’re a creative writing major, it’s not like that. Writing classes are typically much smaller—at Hopkins, I’ve never had one larger than 12 students—and this allows you to connect with professors. Whether it’s talking to them right after class or grabbing coffee to discuss how to revise your end-of-semester portfolio, getting to know your teachers is a breeze, and they can provide important links for future endeavors.
6. Forcing yourself to release creative energy can help you in other areas of life.
I know that if I wasn’t forced to complete assignments every week and say what I need to say, I wouldn’t be able to function. Being creative on a schedule can help you concentrate in other classes, help you relate better to your friends, relax you and motivate you. Writing also gets you more in touch with yourself and can facilitate a beneficial change in your emotional landscape if you’re stressed, angry or sad.
7. Writing is good for the soul.
8. Writing allows you to experience the world—and college—in a different way.
Seeing your college campus through writers’ eyes is different than just seeing it as a regular student. You notice more about your peers—conversations, nuances, interludes between two people. As a creative writing major you are at your most observational and introspective and reflective. What starts in college spills out into the real world, where you will continue to view life around you in a unique way.
9. You CAN get a job.
Using Hopkins as an example, Writing Seminars majors have graduated and gone on to careers in TV and film production, marketing and advertising and journalism. They have also become authors of novels, novellas, children’s books, you name it. While creative writing might not sound like the most lucrative major, such as biomedical engineering, the trope that you’ll be living in your parent’s basement a year after graduation is definitely not true. (That’s most because anyone, graduating from any major, can be living in their parent’s basement a year after graduation.)
10. If you can write, you can do anything.
Knowing how to write and write well gives you an advantage over those who can’t, which can help you get internships, impress professors and eventually snag a really cool job. Honing your writing skills in college sets you up to be a competent, capable, fascinating and creative adult!