This wasn’t supposed to happen.

This semester marked the first time in a long time that I didn’t encounter any problems as I put together my schedule for classes, and so I had neither the need nor the desire to change it—or so I thought.

ENGL 306: Professional Writing was not on that schedule, as I had no intention of ever taking it—and yet one email from a professor, a little soul-searching, and a quick schedule change later, here I am.

At the time, it wasn’t an easy decision, but fifteen weeks later, there is no doubt it was a good one. From the beginning, the course was offering too good an opportunity to miss: the premise of the class was built on spending the semester providing a body of written work for a local non-profit—in our case, Brown County Community Gardens. From starting the workday promptly at 8 a.m. to meeting nonnegotiable deadlines to managing unforeseen obstacles, all in order to produce a variety of research reports, newsletter articles, and independent projects, it gave me a taste of what it means to write and work professionally.

Coming into the course as an English major with a creative writing emphasis, I already had a strong idea of my academic and creative writing capabilities. But the scope of my professional writing experience was pretty small, limited primarily to the emails I sent either to my professors about class or to clients for my jobs.

Although only a junior, with graduation just over a year away and with hopes of an internship filling the time in between, I knew I needed to broaden the horizon of my writing experience to encompass the professional sphere. This class provided that opportunity, and so I seized it. I believe I made the most of it; I hope you’ll think so, too.