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Can a college degree harm your writing career?


Most people would argue that a college education can never be a “bad” thing. Even if the degree pursued won’t automatically lead to the top spot in a high-end career, just having a degree can provide a resume boost.

college degree

(Flickr: Lidyanne Aquino)

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Those whose career goals are less dependent on higher education may find that formal learning can act as a job safety net. After all, life-long creative endeavors are traditionally laden with financial burdens.

Read: 5 ways a college degree can improve your writing

For a writer, making the choice to further his/her education can be an enriching experience, but there are some unkind realities:

Less time to write

This is a paradoxical statement because college is all about writing – you name it, you’ll probably find it as an assignment. Expect to spend at least a few hours a day reading or writing. Unfortunately, this means that there will be little or no time to devote to other types of writing.

Read: Don’t forget — writing should be fun!

Loss of the creative voice

Since college writing is almost always about facts, it isn’t uncommon to find it more difficult to get back into a creative writing mindset. Years of writing textbook-based assignments can stifle the creative flow. Returning to creativity after the barrage of technicalities may be harder than imagined.

Read: Make an impact, write for a cause

Too tired to write

You can only read and write for so many hours a day before words and sentences lose their charm. You may want to work on personal writing projects, but it may not be something that can be done. Constantly working on assignments can zap the desire to add any extra work to your day.

Lost in formalities

Perfection is the name of the game when it comes to college assignments. The smallest error often has the potential to ruin a semester. For writing classes, formal elements are stressed to the point that they become more important than the work itself. This over-concentration on doing things “right” is the death of creativity.

Lose sight of writing goals

Academic aspirations overshadow any other that exist. Writing goals may be abandoned in favor of classwork, but non-academic university lessons take their toll. Becoming a writer may no longer seem “appropriate” and the push to have a “real” career is palpable.

College can put a writing dream at risk. Is it a chance that a writer should take?

Ashley Pereira is a student and freelance writer. She is currently a contributing writer for To learn more about her and see more of her work, visit her website here.



Ashley Pereira

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