“As a non-traditional student, Missouri State-West Plains was perfect for me because it is located here in my hometown, there were plenty of learning options for me, and it had everything I needed to succeed.”
Academic Program: Completed an Associate of Arts in General Studies; now pursuing a degree in Professional Writing via distance learning
Hometown: West Plains
Why did you choose to attend Missouri State-West Plains?
As a non-traditional student, Missouri State-West Plains was perfect for me because it is located here in my hometown, there were plenty of learning options for me, and it had everything I needed to succeed. I was able to attend early in the morning for some classes and late at night for other classes. This helped me work around my husband’s work schedule and still be able to care for our children. Missouri State-West Plains also offered online classes, which helped me when I was not able to attend a seated class because of our family’s schedule.
How would you describe your experience here?
Overall, I have had a pleasant experience. I have learned more than just academics. Missouri State-West Plains helped me flourish as an individual. The instructors are friendly and work with their students to help them succeed.
What has been your favorite thing about Missouri State-West Plains?
I enjoy the atmosphere so much that I applied for a few different job opportunities. I enjoy working with my fellow classmates, and I want to help them succeed. The camaraderie on campus is amazing! I have worked as a Star Leader for a year and half during STAR (STudent Advising and Registration) Orientation, and I am currently working my second year as a writing tutor in the Grizzly Tutoring Labs. My favorite thing about Missouri State-West Plains is seeing students use the resources available to help them succeed.
What has been your favorite course?
My favorite course by far has to be ENG 221 Writing II: Writing for the Professions with Leigh Adams. I had already decided that I wanted to get into technical writing, and this class solidified my aspirations as a professional writer. I enjoyed learning how to properly organize a memorandum, make progress reports, and create project proposals, to name a few. This class has many real-world applications, especially with companies that require a lot of communication between different departments.
How have faculty and staff helped you during your time at Missouri State-West Plains?
Anytime something came up in my life that made my attendance complicated, the faculty created a way for me to succeed. When my children were sick, and I needed to stay home, my instructors allowed me to complete my assignments at home and turn them in through email. If I needed to attend an important school meeting for one of my kids, the instructors understood and gave me my assignments early so I could be sure to stay on task. The key is communication. I made sure I let my instructors know what was going on in my life instead of just being absent.
Additionally, my advisor, Bruce Cavitt, was always going the extra mile to ensure that I was on the right educational path. When I panicked because I wanted to change majors, he worked with me to make sure I was on the path I needed to be. He made the transition go smoothly.
Finally, (but in no way the least), my supervisor, Alex Graham, has gone above and beyond to help me succeed as a writing tutor. I was nervous at first and I had a lot of “imposter syndrome” going on, but Alex trained me how to help students with their coursework. I have loved every minute working as a writing tutor, and I hope that a similar career will be available to me after I graduate with my bachelor’s in professional writing.
How did you choose your major?
I was originally enrolled in an education course. I wanted to pursue a degree in teaching and, at the very least, work as a substitute teacher and continue for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. However, once I started taking classes with an emphasis on education, I realized that the classroom setting was not for me. I am introverted by nature, and I become stressed and exhausted easily in large crowds. I work a lot better in a one-on-one setting and smaller groups of people.
I still wanted to work with people to help them in some way, and I especially enjoy reading and writing. I started looking at different bachelor degree options from the Springfield campus, and I started doing some research. My advisor contacted the Springfield campus so I could talk to one of the advisors in a conference call. This allowed me to ask questions with my advisor nearby in case he also had questions about the potential programs.
After further research, I decided to seek the professional writing degree because it has a large variety of career applications. Technical writing is more than editing and proofreading. I could find a job at a lawyer’s office, content creator’s office, or a newspaper company. I could work as a copywriter, marketing specialist, or an instructional specialist. Professional writing has a place in almost any work setting because, in order for a company to succeed, people need to communicate clearly.
What have you learned from the English Department that will help you succeed in your education, career or life?
Communication is necessary for success. Every part of our daily lives revolves around communicating, and communicating well. One of the things I learned from working as a writing tutor is every class has some component of writing in it. As a tutor, we help students learn how to communicate clearly and efficiently. What one instructor is looking for in coursework may be different from what another instructor is looking for. A report for Biomedical Science is going to be formatted differently than an informative essay for English Composition. The important thing to keep in mind is the audience of who you are writing for. When you know who your audience is, then you know how to format a document to fit the needs of your audience. If you can do that, then you can succeed in communicating clearly.
What are your plans after graduation?
I graduated with my Associate of Arts in General Studies in May 2019. I am still around the MSU-WP campus working as a writing tutor while I work towards my bachelor’s degree through long-distance learning. Once I graduate with my Professional Writing degree, I hope to find a career that involves editing or working on projects that benefit people. One of the classes I look forward to taking is grant writing. That course will help me benefit organizations that, in turn, benefit people in my community. Overall, I enjoy helping others, and I hope I can find something that is fulfilling in the professional/technical writing field.