Writing is hard. It’s work. Love it or hate it, you can’t avoid it! Whether you are a Math major or an English major, writing is something everyone has to learn to do well before they leave college, because employers want to hire people who can handle themselves with a word processor. As George Anders recently pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, companies may say they’re looking for people with technical skills, but they actually prefer to hire strong writers regardless of job preparation. And even though Forbes doesn’t explicitly name writing as one of the 10 most important skills employers are looking for, they still acknowledge that “the trick is to communicate clearly that you have those skills,” probably through a nicely written cover letter.
Our motto at UB is “Knowledge that Works,” and improving your writing is probably the best way to make your knowledge work for you and see the payoff promised by your college degree. No matter what kind of job you end up with after you graduate, you are going to need to write to get it, and then write to keep it. Cover letters, resumes, personal statements, and writing samples may help you get a job. Reports, memos, carefully worded advertisements, case studies, and important research publications will help you keep the job once you’ve secured it. You can’t avoid writing, even if you’ve carefully selected a career based on the perception that you won’t have to write much! Bottom line: writing is a powerful tool that you can put to work to improve your life in direct and indirect ways. If you learn to wield the tool effectively.
The National Council of Teachers of English created the National Day of Writing to acknowledge the importance of writing in our time and encourage literacy education. In anticipation of this big day, Langsdale Library will host a week of activities and workshops to help students participate more fully in the world of writing and learn to be conscious of their writing practice.
Monday 10/9: From Facebook to First Draft: Academic Language
Tuesday 10/10: UB Writers on Writing (Panel Discussion)
Wednesday 10/11: What's Good Feedback?
Thursday 10/12: How to Cite Right -- Avoiding Plagiarism
Friday 10/13: Writing Retreat
Each event is different, and there is something for everyone. The workshop on academic language encourages participants to understand the characteristics of academic writing as a genre and to think about how academic audiences might be unique. Tuesday's panel discussion features UB faculty, who will describe their own writing interests and give students insights into writing in various disciplines. Wednesday's workshop encourage students to improve their technique for peer review, and Thursday's event introduces students to the intricacies of MLA, APA, and Chicago citation styles.
The festivities culminate in our big writing retreat on Friday, October 13. You don’t have to be a great writer to participate; the point is to exercise your writing muscles and have fun. Each hour of the event, from 12:00pm to 6:00pm, there will be a different writing prompt meant to engage you creatively or intellectually. If you’d rather work on writing for class or personal fulfillment, you can do that, too! There will be writing consultants and faculty on hand throughout the retreat to help you improve and give you tips to do your best work.
All of this prepares us to participate in the National Day of Writing, which is Friday, October 20. In the time between our writing retreat and the NDoW, we want UB students and faculty to fill social media with the best examples of our voices, our ideas, and our experiences. Share your work using the official NDoW hashtag #whyIwrite and add #UBwrites to share with our community.