Tag Archives: Ball State English

Taylor Wicker: I'm the Girl Behind the Desk

Since we’re approaching the end of the Spring semester, it’s time to hear what the English public relations interns have to say! Today, Taylor tells us about her experiences as an English student — both inside and outside the classroom. 


I got my job as an English department secretary a few weeks before I started my freshman year of college. The office was inviting, my co-workers and bosses were friendly, and every day that I worked behind the front desk, I found myself meeting people, students, staff, and professors — all intimidatingly smarter than I was in every aspect of life.

I spent my first year hiding behind that front desk, watching clubs organize events I refused to go to, hearing about readings in local coffee shops I’d most certainly miss, and poetry competitions I would never dream of competing in. I got into the habit of staying behind the scenes, of appreciating my department at a distance. The more time I spent behind the desk, avoiding these opportunities, the more I craved to be involved in them.

I was writing, sure, but I wasn’t showing it to anyone. I was reading, definitely, but I didn’t want to talk about my experiences with anyone outside of my painfully disinterested friend group.

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Elizabeth Palmer: You can only figure out what you want if you participate.

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Photo provided by Elizabeth Palmer.

She graduated from Ball State in 2014.

She majored in English Studies, with a minor in digital media.

She worked as one of the English Department’s PR Interns, producing content for this very blog.

Today, Elizabeth Palmer tells us how she used her skills as an English major to secure a position at Coldwell Banker, a real estate company.


1. What I Learned as an English Major

Courses like Editing and Style helped me balance my writing voice with concise, coherent arguments.

I owe a lot of my growth as a writer to Amit Baishya, who, unfortunately, is no longer teaching at Ball State.

Learning to communicate effectively allowed me to showcase my other skills, like design and multimedia storytelling.

Opportunities at Ball State, like the Digital Media minor, helped me utilize my skills in more engaging educational settings. 

My Virginia B. Ball Center seminar (Strengthening Opinions about Animal Responsibility) also gave me an opportunity to thrive in an entirely new learning environment. 

To learn more about the Virginia Ball Center, click here.

 

I knew I wasn’t destined to be an English teacher (even though so many people told me I should be), and branching out into Ball State’s immersive learning projects allowed me to prove that.


2. Finding a job is hard, but not impossible

The last two months before graduation, I spent all my time providing sample work, researching, and interviewing for a job I was so sure I was going to get.

When the time of the interview came, I spent over two hours in the office meeting employees. I even spoke with the HR director and interviewed with the marketing manager.

I left that interview confident I’d secured a future at the company. I was so sure I wasn’t going to be one of those college graduates scrambling to find a job after graduation.

I was wrong. Continue reading

Coming Very, Very Soon: It’s the English Department SuperParty

Which of these thoughts has ever crossed your mind?

[Check all that apply.]

  • “I want to belong to something. How do I get involved?” 

  • “Am I taking the right classes to graduate?”

  • “I know I like English, but what should I focus on?”

  • “I know I should do an internship. How do I make that happen?”

  • What am I going to do with my life?”

Get the answers to these and lots of other questions at our Advising Sessions! 

English Advising Sessions

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Two champions are crowned! NaNoWriMo 2014

In November, Ball State English kicked off its first ever National Novel Writing Month competition amongst its faculty, students, friends, and alumni. Our writers warred against each other at weekly Monday Write-Ins, pushing their word counts higher than ever before. Weekly word champions were announced via Twitter.

Cumulatively, our 20 participants wrote a combined total of more than 350,000 words.

What about the overall winners? In our initial blog post, we stated that there would be two winners:

  • the first to reach 50,000 words
  • the person to write the most words overall

With NaNoWriMo officially over, we are pleased to announce those winners.

Ball State English is pleased to crown Alyssa Nobbe and Carie McMichael our NaNoWriMo champions!

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Creative + Writing: Aaron Nicely on selling your degree

Say hello to Aaron Nicely, an alumnus of the Ball State English department.

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Photo provided by Aaron Nicely

Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Aaron currently resides in Noblesville, IN, though he has also lived in Boston, St. Louis, Muncie, and Ingalls, IN. He graduated from Wabash College in 2006 with a BA in English and a minor in theatre. He then came to Ball State, where he completed his MA in Creative Writing in 2008, and his MA in Literature in 2010.

Currently, Aaron serves as the Director of Digital Marketing at Elbert Construction.

Below, Aaron shares his advice on what employers are really looking for, how to “pitch yourself,” and what you can really do with a BA in English.

Tell us about your collegiate journey.

My timeline went kind of like it’s supposed to.

College years

I went to Wabash College to get an English degree and write, which I did.  I won a grant to write a novel.  I got an internship with an ad agency. As a kid I ripped my favorite ads out of magazines and tucked them away in boxes, in books, and dreamed of copywriting.  I wanted to know why and how it worked.  I was incurably curious.

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#NaNoWriMo is coming. Let’s get ready to write!

Photo provided by Sarah Hollowell

Photo provided by Sarah Hollowell

It’s almost November. If you’re novel savvy, you know what that means: it’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month, known affectionately as NaNoWriMo.

Interested in competing in a #bsuenglish Face Off? Check out information at the bottom of the post!

To get us ready for #NaNoWriMo 2014, we’ve asked creative writing undergrad and NaNo verteran Sarah Hollowell to share her experiences.

So tell us, Sarah, what’s up with NaNoWriMo?

Every November since 1999, hundreds of thousands of novelists all over the world have taken on the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Since 2006, I’ve been one of them.

I was a sophomore in high school that first year, battling social anxiety and depression. Books and writing had always been my escape. National Novel Writing Month was just what I needed. For 30 days, I escaped into a fantasy world that was imaginative but not expertly constructed (I was, after all, 16.) I wrote 50,000 words that November, and finished the draft at 70,000 words in December.

The draft…was horrible. Really, truly, never-again-will-it-see-the-light-of-day bad.

But to sixteen-year-old me, it was beautiful. It was the largest project I’d ever taken on, and I finished it. I made a novel – a bad, bad novel, but a novel nonetheless – out of thin air. I felt magical. All of my dreams of being a writer seemed more real than they ever had before.

At this point you might be thinking: “That’s nice, Sarah, really, quite lovely. Inspiring, even. But I’m in college, not high school, and November is very near to college hell. I don’t sleep as it is, or I sleep too much. My dining plus is depleted, all used on Starbucks. I eat Lucky Charms out of Tupperware because the bowls are all dirty and doing dishes is too much work. How can I possibly write a novel?”

You make a fair point, hypothetical reader. These are real concerns. Signing up to do NaNoWriMo when you’re in college is radical, especially if you’re an English major. You’re in literature and creative writing classes already, right? You have 300 pages to read and six stories to workshop every week, not to mention that HIST 150 test. Writing 50,000 words on top of that seems impossible.

Here’s the thing: I’m lazy. Ask anyone. I’m a desperately lazy person. I’m going to nap after I finish this blog post, assuming I can stop binge watching Gilmore Girls – and I’ve won NaNo three times since starting college. If I can do it, trust me. So can you.

Spend your free time locked in your room, typing faster than you’ve ever typed. Scribble in notebooks between classes. Type notes on your phone while riding the shuttle and damn autocorrect more than you’ve ever damned it before. The worst that can happen is that you don’t finish, and I’ve done that, too. I haven’t finished NaNoWriMo since 2011.

I’m looking to change that, and I think you should join me.

Announcing: #bsuenglish Write Ins!

If you’re a NaNnano_12_new_Come_Write_In_Logo1o veteran, do it again. Write more this year. If it’s your first time, you’ve chosen a great year to start, because for the first time the Ball State English Department is going to be holding Write Ins.

They’ll be in the Letterman lobby from 9 PM – 10 PM on all the Mondays in November – that’s the 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th.

Oh, and did I mention there’s going to be a competition?

Announcing: #bsuenglish Face Off!

In November, we’ll have a page here on the blog with a list of NaNo-ing Ball State English majors and their up-to-date word count.

Every week, the current leader will be announced in a @bsuenglish tweet (which, of course, will earn mighty praise and envy from all involved).

At the end of the month, the writer who finishes first and the writer with the most total words will win prizes.

To get involved, all you have to do is send your NaNoWriMo username and Twitter handle to Becca Austin at rkaustin(at)bsu(dot)edu NO LATER THAN Thursday, October 30th at 5:00 PM.

Current faculty AND students welcome. Alums, too.

November is coming. Let’s write some novels, shall we?

New paths for your future. Learn about graduate degrees in English.

Are you interested in furthering your education?

Whether or not you majored in English as an undergrad, learn more about the many benefits of a graduate degree in English at Ball State at an on-campus information session on Saturday, October 25, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

You might be wondering, “How can a graduate degree in English help me in the real world?”

It helped these people. Check out these stars to steer by.

  • Cole Farrell uses his creative writing degree in his career in marketing. 
  • Sarah Smith uses her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition on her job in business.
  • Jennifer Banning uses her M.A. General on her job as a Career Adviser at Earlham.
  • Nate Logan talks about using his M.A. in Creative Writing to get a PhD in Creative Writing.
  • Audrey Brown uses her M.A. in Creative Writing to get paid to write.

Interested?

Registration only takes a minute. Get the information you need about graduate school before admissions deadlines in January. As an added bonus, if you attend this event, we’ll waive half of your $60 application fee.

And remember, three hours of your time could open new career paths for your future.
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Digest: What’s Happening September 22-28

Welcome to our first-ever installment of the English department digest. Published on Fridays, the digest is a list of what’s happening in Robert Bell in the week ahead.

If you need to look farther ahead, be sure to check out our calendar.

Week of September 22-28

Wednesday, September 24

Author, poet, and publisher Joyelle McSweeney visits, reads, and answers questions at 7:30 PM in Bracken 104. 

The Writers’ Community weekly meeting will be held in RB 291 from 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM.

Friday, September 26 Continue reading

Tyler Fields on the New York Arts Program and Landing His First Job in Publishing

In a follow up to his previous post, Tyler Fields, the winner of our 2013 Outstanding Senior Award, discusses the New York Arts Program and his journey towards his first job in publishing.

In mid-December, I will say goodbye to my thirty housemates with whom I’ve shared a brownstone in Chelsea for the past sixteen weeks. Collectively, we will end our internships which, this semester, have ranged from publicity and marketing to assistantships in such fields as publishing, theatre, and visual arts. However, unlike my fellow housemates who will pack up their New York City lives and return to their respective universities and homes as far away as New Mexico, my move will be a mere 82 blocks to my new apartment in Harlem. In addition to calling New York my new home, I’ve also just landed a job which I will officially begin in January, and I’m in the midst of launching a brand new media production, distribution, and discussion project. And despite the whirlwind of events coming to a head in the coming weeks, my perception of getting to this point reveals that not only did the New York Arts Program, but also my years at Ball State University, guide me toward accomplishing some of my biggest dreams.

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