Meet: James Devlin
Since graduation, how have you applied your skills as a writer in your everyday life and career? How did majoring/minoring in Writing & Linguistics at Georgia Southern allow you to develop these skills?
- To start off, I am currently a Higher Education Administration graduate Student at Georgia Southern University working in the Office of Student Activities. My communication skills are something I use every day and in every aspect of my life. I may not get as much time to free write as I would like but I still have to write for work and school. My job has me working with social media, monthly newsletters, and emails. The importance of writing in my graduate classes is pretty obvious, every class requires you know how to write. That significance is amplified more because my courses are online; due to the lack of face time, I write about three papers a week. Some might say that’s a lot, but I say nay. After taking about 18 hours of writing course a semester along with a job and a thesis—three papers a week is not the worst thing.
Which courses in particular were helpful to you as a writer? Would you recommend any of these to non-majors?
- This question is hard to answer by not just saying: “take all of the classes.” However, I will challenge writers to take course that are out of their comfort zone. Poets should take a fiction course, fiction writer’s need a screenplay course, and screenplay writers need a poetry class—mix it up. I would say if I could go back I would challenge myself to take more linguistics, technical writing, and writing theory courses. I would just recommend that non-majors change their major to Writing and Linguistics.
What advice would you give to students considering a major or minor in Writing & Linguistics?
- What are you waiting for? I was an Exercise Science major in my sophomore year. However, I loved writing and I didn’t enjoy any of my science courses. I would recommend meeting with some professors in the department— all of them are very friendly. It is easy to see that all want the individual student to succeed and they will devote time to see that happen. If you think that a writing degree will land you in a box behind the Bi-Lo—think again. A degree in Writing and Linguistics is more than just those two parts, it will teach you how to learn and how to think. Not enough departments teach that anymore.
Which professors stood out to you as effective role models and guides while you were an undergraduate student?
- Again, I think every professor acted as a role model to me in the department. Make use of their office hours! I would have to thank Professor Jared Yates Sexton for really drawing me into the department and being a mentor throughout my writing career.
How well would you say your experiences at Georgia Southern prepared you for graduate school and employer demands?
- I’ve heard professors say that the graduate school and graduate work will purposefully tear down your confidence—and they are right. However, challenging myself as a Writing and Linguistic student helped prepare me for my workload now. The story of the writer is to submit pieces of yourselves to have people read it and reject it. That can be said for any professional life too—you often put yourself out there with a high chance to be rejected. My degree helped me figure out how to keep trying and applying myself. Never stop pushing yourself whether you want to get a publication, do well at work or graduate.
Last updated: 7/21/2016