Dear Eighth Grade Student,
My name is Briana Marie Padilla, and I am a first-year student at California State University, Stanislaus. Writing has been important throughout all of my years in school— from learning how to write my own name in kindergarten, to writing two-page essays in high school, to writing a nearly ten-page research paper in college. There has not been one year in which I have not had to write a poem, essay, speech, or even a letter such as the one I am writing now.
I am sure you have had plenty of experience with writing as well, and at this point you probably have one of three opinions about it: you hate it, you love it, or you don’t really care as long as you get a good grade. Whatever your opinion may be at this point, I would like to share some thoughts as to why writing is important and why you should strive to improve your writing skills.
In high school, you can use writing to your advantage. Not only will you be obligated to write countless papers for your English teachers and even your teachers in other subjects, but there will be placement tests, college applications and scholarships that require you to write essays as well. Working to improve your writing skills will help you complete these kinds of tasks. My first year in college is coming to an end, and already I have written five essays and various other writing assignments. I feel that writing is not only benefitting me in my classes currently, but that it is simultaneously preparing me to take on certain challenges in my future career. In fact, for almost any career you choose to pursue, good writing skills can give you an edge over others who are after the same position. You will be the one hired because you have had something that the other applicants do not. The skills you obtain in high school, and in college allow you to be superior in so many ways and situations. What you gain through writing well is pride in your work and positive outcomes. The only losses you may ever experience in writing are the opportunities lost had you not had learned valuable writing skills. I once believed that I did not need to learn new skills because I thought my writing was good enough already. I did not realize that I could be doing so much better.
I have always loved writing. Being creative was always easy for me, but it was hard to put my thoughts onto paper because I had no structure to guide me. It was not until my high school years that I tried to improve my writing composition skills. Learning new techniques and writing principles gave me the guidance I needed to express thoughts efficiently and quickly. For example, I learned how to create an outline before starting my essay. Without this skill, I do not believe that I would be the writer I am today. Before, I would simply choose a topic and start writing as much as I could without thinking about the order, what was or was not relevant to the essay, or the conclusion I was aiming for. I had so many great ideas that I wanted to share, but was so focused on writing them down quickly that my essays would end up very disorganized and difficult to read. After learning how to outline before starting the rough draft, I found writing to be less stressful and even easier to do than ever before. I did not have to work so hard to remember my thoughts and opinions. I was also able to reach a conclusion that effectively brought every element of my paper together. Today, there is never a time that I do not outline before writing. Even before physically making an outline I begin to create it in my head because it is now a part of my writing process. I can personally say that it is one of the important skills that has improved my work tremendously.
You too will be able to acquire new skills very soon, and I encourage you to learn as much as you possibly can. You can become a great writer and inspire others. You can expand your knowledge and make amazing changes through your work. Writing is an amazing tool for people to speak their mind and share their thoughts with others. Having good writing skills is a form of power and freedom; you can offer your input confidently, knowing that you used your techniques to your own advantage and on your own terms. That kind of freedom is the I believe you should seek because it is something you will never lose. As Robert Frost once said, “Freedom lies in being bold.” Therefore: be bold. You are young and capable of doing amazing things. Use your freedom and become as powerful as you can possibly be, now and in your future.
Briana M. Padilla