Writing has always been one of my weakest and strongest points of mine. I’d like to believe that I’m not the worst writer, but for sure, I’m not the best. I always struggle a lot with writing projects, assignments, homeworks, class work… you name it, all of them stressed me out a lot. (Even updating my own blog stressed me out.)
The thing is I really do love writing but at the same time I hate it because I never think my writings are worthy of being read by others. My anxiety over this always make me question whether I can even become a journalist one day.
FOUR MONTHS AGO…
Four months ago, I began my third year as a journalism student in BJM program; English program dedicated to Mass Media Studies under the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication in Thammasat University. I’ve always heard from everyone that third year in university is one of the intense periods in your life, and how accurate they all are – life as a third year student is manic. Classes were more assignments or projects oriented. Mondays were never the same for me. TGIFs (Thank God It’s Friday) have become a part of my mantra every Fridays, the word “haiku” has a completely different meaning to me now, and sleeping and eating were no longer my first primary needs.
One of the challenging classes, from out of six classes this semester that I took, was definitely JM310 Editorial and Article Writing course taught by Ajarn Bruce Avasadanond.
By just looking at the name of this course, it’s already giving me anxieties, and my third year began with this class at 9am on a Monday. It was nerve wracking. The class honestly started with one of my fears; a quiz with two writing tasks. My anxieties were off the charts, and I don’t know how but I managed to write something decent and survived the first class. But the nature of this class is strict; there are 17 rules to follow, two major group projects and many weekly writing assignments. I didn’t think that I would survive this semester even though I survived the first class.
WORK WORK WORK WORK…
The writing assignments and group projects stressed me a lot about this class, however, despite everything, the class was very enjoyable. We got to learn more about grammar in details and more about ethics. I found the grammar lessons very useful and for ethics, I enjoyed it lot because last year, we have to take a introduction to ethics course and I didn’t understand a thing. I love learning about ethics but the lecturer didn’t explain well or make us engage with the lesson so it was very disappointing. But this time around, the handout Ajarn Bruce provided us was very easy to follow, and we also had a weekly writing assignment on this and got to share our ideas with the class, so I found it very efficient.
Unlike other classes, the group formation in this class is by random selection. It was very exciting and at the same time, it was scary. I have worked with many of my classmates in last two years that I have been in BJM, so the random selection didn’t really scare me. I like working with people I am familiar with, and I also like the challenge of working with new people, so I wasn’t that put out by it. The scary factor for me was all of these projects being writing-based projects, and I was scared that I won’t be able to provide good writing work for projects because of my anxieties with writing.
The first group formation was for the editorial writing project. I got paired with five friendly and hardworking members. I have never really worked with some of them and editorial writing process is also unfamiliar to me so, in the beginning, it was like treading through water at night. But as I got to know them more and got acquainted with the task of editorial writing, everything falls into places. All of the members are diligent and they inspired me to always push myself to be more efficient and not slack off.
They are awesome to work together with and I want to say thank you to them for giving me one of best working experiences.
Second group formation was for the article writing project. Whenever I think about the random selected members I got for this group, I smile and find it really amusing because I got paired with members whom I really wanted to work together with. I have worked with some of them and we all worked well together before, so it’s like riding a bike again in a park that you love. Article writing task is more intense than the editorial because it involved a lot more writing for the project, but the process of writing this time around doesn’t really scare me much because I’m working with familiar faces.
This group is also amazing to work together with; we are very supportive of each other and we always make sure all of us are okay, at all times – teamwork becomes the basis of our group. I also want to thank them for giving me one of the most enjoyable and best working experiences again.
WRITING… STILL WORST ENEMY?
While I found most of the class and group activities enjoyable, weekly assignments or individual writing tasks were not something I look forward to from this class. I have horrible time management and procrastination has always been my best friend, so I battle constantly with the deadlines of individual writing tasks.
My anxieties were full on force during this semester.
Anxieties with my writings… my anxieties with my horrible time management… anxieties with meeting the deadlines…
But I have to say that all these writing tasks have slightly reduced my anxieties when it comes to my writing. Now I don’t get scared when lecturers told us, “The exams will be just writing, writing and writing,” or “It’s going to be essay questions.”
For my horrible time management and meeting the deadlines, I think I try, but I think I can be better.
FOUR MONTHS LATER…
I still remember what Ajarn Bruce said in the beginning of this semester,
“This class is not only about grades! You will learn some very useful skills and techniques that you will use in your professional and personal life too!”
As the semester slowly (also very quickly :() comes to an end, I’ve realized that how accurate the statement is. This class has changed me academically and socially a lot in a short period of time. I know I will always have anxieties with my writing, but I’m learning to curb my unnecessary fears, and trying to be more confident in my writing and in myself as well.
This class has also taught me how to be more outspoken, to stand on my own, and to present my opinions critically in any situations. From all my amazing group members from both projects, I learn what teamwork truly is and what it means to have empathy for each other.
All in all, I’m glad to have survived another semester and here’s to another three more.