What I Learned in Professional Writing Class Is…

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“One great way to grow not only your confidence but also your skill is to continually learn more about writing.” – Ali Luke

This semester I took a class about Professional Writing, it has given me the opportunity to gain a lot of knowledge about different aspects of life and myself. Much of what I’ve learned is about how the world works and how to get across to people through my writing. I learned how to use a blog, how to utilize LinkedIn and how to use Twitter.

I never thought I’d be the type of person to make and use Twitter even for a second. Mostly because I don’t really voice my opinion in my own words very often. I also don’t see the point of updating my status every time I do something. I mean, I do see the appeal of staying updated with people, mostly important people like celebrities, politicians, etc. But the idea of actually using it consistently never really appealed to me, so I never made one until this class. I was shown the benefits of Live Tweeting and how it can help not only in a work environment but also in a school setting. It never occurred to me that Twitter could be used in ways to help further someone’s education.

I also got to experience what it was like to be involved in an online community, even if it was only for a few hours. It made me realize that there are people who are willing to help others and that genuinely care about others. Since I’m not really the type to willingly start talking to other people this assignment was a pretty new experience for me. I was mostly afraid that no one would respond to my messages and I would have to find another community to try.

In the beginning of the class, I had a lot of anxiety over the fact that a lot of the assignments were things that I had never done before and were things that involved me talking about what I thought or reaching out to other people. I mostly keep my thoughts to myself, so having to actually put my thoughts into words for others to read and comment on made me pretty anxious. I soon came to realize that nothing bad was going to happen when I did voice my opinions. It also made me realize that when I reach out to people there are some who won’t be as helpful as others and that that’s just a part of life.

For a few years, I haven’t had much confidence in myself, or in my writing. I especially did not have enough confidence to start writing a blog or make articles for a website. Which was part of the reasons at the beginning of the class I was a little uncomfortable and uneasy. The thought of me being shoved out of my comfort zone was terrifying to me, but the more I was forced out of my comfort zone the easier things became. This class has helped me gain some confidence in myself and my writing, which I thought I would never be able to get back. In the future, I may be more willing to let people read more of my personal writings or let them be published.

Photo Credit: The Odyssey Online


Finding the Information

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At the very beginning of the Hauteans in Motion project, I thought it was going to be pretty easy. I just needed to gather some information, write up my findings, take some pictures and add those pictures to my work. After a week or so I realized how hard it actually is to obtain the information I wanted to. At one point I wanted to write a little about the potential of the old Concannon High School in West Terre Haute and how it could be made into a place for the homeless or something productive. But after doing some research I realized that finding who owned the place and then finding people to interview about what it was like there and what it is being used for now was going to take time that I didn’t have to spare.

Most of my articles that I’m writing have been about me going into places and doing my research that way. But sadly, I do not drive and I live at home so I had to go off of my mother’s schedule to get a ride when she had the time and money. To add onto this I also had to work some of the restaurant owners to try to figure out if they would be in when I came by to visit. So most of my research and questioning have been through emails or Facebook messaging.

One of my articles is about the Indiana Theatre, I’ve been in there once before but only took a few photos at the time. So, I was hoping to get into contact with the owner and take a tour to take photos and ask questions. I emailed and called, but apparently they were too busy to bother contacting me back, so I’ve done a lot of internet research. It really upsets me that they wouldn’t want to promote the theatre on our website.

I’ve come to a major understanding of what journalists and news reporters go through. It also makes me respect them and what they do a lot more because I know how hard it is to gather information in a short amount of time. In this day and age, it’s hard to get and maintain a job when you have limited skills and connections. So, being able to be versatile and flexible today would definitely come in handy.

“Versatility in this context means having as many skills as possible to help you succeed.” – Tony Rogers

Photo Credit: Science Nutshell

Change is Inevitable

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This past week I spent a lot of time in town with a friend who was visiting from Texas. He had lived here previously so the area wasn’t completely new to him. There was one thing he kept saying for the first couple of days though that really stuck with me. He kept talking about how the area of Terre Haute and/or West Terre Haute had changed since he had left. He left the area about three years ago so it’s no wonder things had changed. He kept expressing how he didn’t know where anything was anymore or gawking at the new or different things.

The thing is though, I never really thought about how so many things have changed in the past couple years. I had watched the restaurants and stores be built or rebuilt so I knew what it had and would look like. So the concept of things being different had never occurred to me until he had said something about it. The idea of things changing around never seems to occur not until someone who’s been away for a while comes to visit and they need help maneuvering around the city again.

He stated that “It’s my home town, but it doesn’t feel like home anymore.” This statement seems so important, because it is true in a good and sad way. He recognizes that Terre Haute is his home and always will be but for him it’s frustrating because it’s not the way he remembers it to be. I find this intriguing because I still feel like it is still home it may have changed but it’s still home and I don’t really feel uncomfortable navigating the area. But watching him navigate the area was sometimes a struggle to watch. He got frustrated at one point because he remembered a certain coffee shop being in one place but when we drove by it wasn’t there and that seemed to frustrate him.

It seems odd the way things change and the people who live in the area don’t seem to notice it as being different. But then a former resident comes back in town and everything is suddenly brand new to them and people realize how different things truly are. It also amazes me that even though change can be a good thing some people become frustrated with the reality that it’s not the place they used to know. People become so stuck in their ways of doing things that the moment something changes it make them feel uncomfortable. I believe change can be a great thing and that it needs to be embraced. Maybe by starting this website about Terre Haute it’ll promote positive change for the future.

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Gail Sheehy

Photo Credit: Pinterest