The College Days – Self Reflective Letter

by | Feb 7, 2005 | 0 comments

Author Note: I found this letter tucked inside a file titled “Senior Portfolio”. I have no recollection of writing this letter, the reason I had to write it, nor do I remember this being my plans at the time.

I’m sharing it because 48-year-old-me needed to read these words from 30-year-old me right now.

These plans didn’t happen right after college. Life took a different course for me, and as life piled on, my dreams kept getting pushed to the bottom of the life pile. Which happens. We grow. We age. We become responsible for others.

But, while it didn’t go as planned, then, this was a good reminder that while dreams might get delayed, they aren’t necessarily dead until you’re in the ground. 

To the English faculty of the University of Rio Grande,

The main thing I’ve learned from this program is the ability to recognize my weaknesses as a writer and reader.  Whereas before, I read mostly for entertainment, I now am able to recognize the difference between works considered literary and works deemed commercial.  That said, I still very much enjoy those commercial works.

As a writer, I realize the majority of what I have written would fall into the commercial category.  It is my intention to push my writing to a different level; however I would not be embarrassed to be published as a commercial writer.  I have no interest in playing the part of the starving artist.

I wish now that I had been pushed in my writing in high school.  I won a few awards here and there, but I was in college before hearing about the Writer’s Market or other opportunities for writers.  There are a lot of competitions for young adults that most students are not aware of.

My favorite part of writing is to free write.  I enjoy the mindless words that appear on the page and often surprise myself when reading it.  I also spend the majority of my day “writing” in my head.  For weeks, I will formulate a story, pick up little things here and there and work them in, hear the conversations in my head and then I will start writing it.  Unfortunately, as soon as my pen touches paper or my fingers touch a keyboard, I begin thinking of another story.  It’s difficult for me to finish a story in its entirety.  It is a problem I am currently working on.

I would love nothing more than to make a living as a writer, but I am also realistic.  As a mother with two children, I cannot rely on my unproven ability, so my ultimate plans are to be a college professor.  After I finish my bachelors, I plan on substitute teaching while I pursue a master’s degree.  I haven’t decided yet what that degree will be in.  Of course, I would like to pursue it in creative writing, but that will depend on how my writing ability is judged.  Should the creative writing fall through, I am most interested in English Literature, though there are some works in World Literature that I have found interesting.

Since the decision to become an English major is fairly new to me, I am still trying to decide where I fit into the field.  I know poetry is my weakest point.  For some reason, I am unable to get lost in a poem the way I can get lost in a work of prose.  I find myself paying more attention to the actual words than the meaning of the sentence.  It is difficult to explain, but basically I can read an entire poem and still have no idea what it said.  I have found, however, that I learn poetry better when it is read aloud.  What I do know is I feel comfortable as an English major.  I look forward to attending classes and reading works I’ve always heard about, but never seemed to read.  Being an English major has allowed me to do what I love to do best, question everything.


Michelle (Morris) Miller