Stu­dents learn to become better writers at career panel Courtesy | Collegian

Writing can be both a prof­itable and sat­is­fying career, a panel of pro­fes­sional writers advised stu­dents on Tuesday night at an event hosted by Career Services. 

John Miller, director of the Dow Jour­nalism Program at Hillsdale College, said jour­nalism is a great place to begin a career in writing. 

“A lot of people think if you work at the Col­legian, you’re training to be a news­paper writer, which is one thing you might be doing, but really what you’re learning to do is how to how to tell stories, and write well, which is a highly trans­ferable skill,” Miller said.

The event, hosted by Career Ser­vices at Hillsdale College, attempted to give resources and mate­rials to young and aspiring writers within the student body. 

The panel included Miller, Pro­fessor of History Wilfred McClay, Hillsdale Scott McClellan ’18, and Director and Editor-in-Chief of the South Dakota State His­torical Society Dedra Birzer.

“Find oppor­tu­nities to write and edit,” Birzer said. “Do not let good writing go to waste.”

Freshman Kamden Mulder said it was encour­aging to hear from men and women who have been able to excel in a field she is inter­ested in.

“Hearing how all of the pan­elists have been suc­cessful, including the pan­elist who grad­uated from Hillsdale, gives me a lot of hope,” Mulder said. 

Mulder believed the event was also helpful in addressing neg­ative stereo­types that people asso­ciate with careers in writing. 

“There seem to be many mis­con­cep­tions about the field and narrow per­spec­tives on what you can do with writing, but there’s actually so many dif­ferent oppor­tu­nities,” Mulder said.

All of the speakers empha­sized the joy that writing has brought into their lives and the con­nec­tions they have made as a result of their decision to write.

“Writing is a won­derful thing,” McClay said.

The panel com­mu­ni­cated the impor­tance of getting your name in print early on when con­sid­ering a career in editing or writing. 

“Start to build your writing resume,” Birzer said.

“One of the biggest things I gleaned from tonight was to start writing now,” senior Grace Bennett said. “Get involved with writing oppor­tu­nities on campus because those are stepping stones to writing oppor­tu­nities in the future.” 

McClay acknowl­edged sub­mitting work to others for editing and analysis can be threatening

“You will have to get over your feelings,” McClay said. 

Through failure, writers gain expe­rience which aids them in per­fecting their craft, McClay said.

Miller described the amount of ful­fillment his career in jour­nalism has given him.

“It has brought me every­where from inter­viewing the pres­ident in the Oval Office, to touring NORAD strategic defense in the heart of Cheyenne Mountain, to learning how to throw a Stone Age weapon all just by virtue of being a jour­nalist,” Miller said.

“I want to write because I can’t not write,” Bennett said. “I think through writing, I speak through writing, I connect with people through writing, and so I came to explore options in this career, but, ulti­mately, I just want to write.”