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Writing at Carleton

Andriana writes about pursuing her passion at Carleton!

Andriana writes about pursuing her passion at Carleton!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to What a Week Part II! (Not really, but it has been *pretty* busy.) To take a break from The Things That Give Me Palpitations (I’m lookin’ at you, bio quiz), I get to do one of my favorite things: write!

I realize that “writing” is a pretty non-specific way to describe one of my favorite hobbies.

So what does it mean exactly?

Well, I love to write pretty much everything! (Yes, yes, I know that doesn’t quite narrow it down.) I write anything and everything—papers, blogs, poems, articles, etc. In short—I’m not picky! While I have always enjoyed writing, I’ve gotten many wonderful opportunities to really pursue it at Carleton, as well as become a much better writer in the process.

Here are some of the ways I have been able to explore my interest so far:

1. The Carleton Admissions Blog!

One of the most obvious ways I’ve been able to work on my writing is through this blog! I was lucky enough to be offered my job as a blogger before starting my freshman year, and it has proven to be a really fantastic experience. (Be sure to check out Lucas’s reflection on blogging!)

Blogging has been a great fit for me, because it gives me an outlet for both weekly reflection and honing my writing skills. I have learned that blog writing is a pretty different skill from academic writing, in that it is much more informal and provides opportunities for writers to incorporate their own voice and style. While I spent much of freshman year focusing solely on the content, this year I have allowed myself to experiment more with its delivery.

Essentially, I feel so lucky to have a student job that has facilitated growth for me in an area that I really care about.

(Just for fun, here is a link to my first blog post ever.)

2. The Carletonian

Two weeks ago, I finally gathered the courage to submit my first article to Carleton’s student-run newspaper, the Carletonian! I had wanted to contribute for a while, and had even written a few pieces, but was too nervous to ever send them. Earlier this month, though, I decided that I should go for it. My first piece was published on January 15th!

The student newspaper is an excellent way to pursue writing and have your voice heard on campus. Like blogging, it requires a set of skills distinct from academic writing. In fact, I’d recommend that anyone remotely interested should try to submit an article to her school newspaper. It’s a chance to practice a new skill and voice an opinion.

3. Contests and Courses

I decided that this spring, I would enter Carleton’s travel writing contest, sponsored in part by OCS! The contest provides a chance for students to share a travel experience by submitting a creative nonfiction piece. It’s a really fun way to further experiment with a new genre! While I’m not expecting to win because I know there are so many talented writers at Carleton, I know that this will be a really great learning opportunity.

The first time I tried creative writing was during my Intro to Creative Writing course last spring. I loved the class, and it even led me to consider the Creative Writing Minor. In the course, we covered both poetry and fiction, each of which brought their own set of challenges. For example, certain forms of poetry are very rigid in terms of structure, which means you have to strongly consider both form and content when writing. Fiction is challenging because it can be really difficult to write something meaningful that doesn’t feel stale or recycled.

I feel like the class made me a better writer in a very different way from my other Carleton English courses, which was really nice. It also exposed me to creative writing and made me want to do more, hence the travel writing contest!

What if I don’t like writing?

First, if you don’t like writing, that’s totally fine! That said, I do think that it’s a super important skill, regardless of your career plans. It is certainly necessary during college, especially here at Carleton, where we have Writing Rich requirements and a writing portfolio that every sophomore must complete.

Luckily, we also have resources to help with writing. Every freshman must take an Argument and Inquiry (A&I) seminar, which is designed to help build college writing skills. Additionally, the Writing Center is a great way to improve your abilities.

Ultimately, the goal of this post is not to force you to do something you don’t want to do. My point is that there are so many opportunities to pursue your interests, no matter what they are. Find ways to do what you love and, most importantly, grow in that area. That’s what college is for!


Andriana is a sophomore at Carleton, where she plans to major in English and double minor in Creative Writing and Cross-Cultural Studies. Although she will be spending this fall at home in Richmond, VA, Andriana is already excited to return to Carleton and escape the southern heat. When she isn’t busy avoiding Virginia’s never-ending summer, you can find Andriana binge-reading, playing music, or watching a favorite movie or show for the umpteenth time. Meet the other bloggers!