When hearing the word “write”, what comes to mind? Is it a five-to-twenty-page academic essay or dissertation that leads one to dread or procrastination? Beyond academic aspects, writing is the gift of communication that is good for the health, proves or documents that events took place or feelings existed, and creates art. Writing is inevitable, so as college students it is necessary to develop this skill for career and life success.
Writing In Any Form Improves Mental Health
As college students, it’s easy to become stressed about a work-life balance, maintaining relationships, acquiring internships and career opportunities, and managing financial circumstances. When used effectively, writing is a remedy to alleviate levels of depression and anxiety by lowering cortisol (a hormone released from stress that can suppress the immune system at consistently elevated levels). Writing can help to bring your dreams and vision into focus. A tip for effective writing for mental health includes documenting positive moments or events that take place in your life and refer back to them for encouragement when experiencing rough circumstances.
Writing Clarifies Goals
Writing down goals or life plans can help you maintain discipline and confirm your capability to achieve success. A useful way to set goals is to form a timeline ranging from one to seven years and specify the extent of a goal as short-term or long-term. For example, a student desiring to become a counselor could set the short-term goal of passing all university psychology exams and graduating. Longer-term goals would be to pass a certification exam and attain all hours required to become a licensed counselor. The important aspect of writing for improved mental health is that it serves as a confirmation that conquered challenges bring success, and hardships won’t always last.
Communication is Key
The phrase, “if it isn’t written down it doesn’t matter”, highlights the importance of communicating or documenting circumstances or events in the workplace, educational institutions, or any legal matter. In a college students’ perspective, it is important to communicate with your professors, especially when there is a lack of understanding. For example, a student attends a class with approximately 150 students, and the professor is teaching a complex subject that is difficult to comprehend. Putting pride aside by sending an email to the professor explaining where the misunderstanding is, asking for an explanation, and seeking resources for knowledge is the first step in learning to communicate for success.
Another example of the importance of writing can be seen in legal scenarios. When a victim of the sequences of unethical or criminal acts writes down the accumulation of the events (specifying dates from start to finish), the process to attain justice from legal or managerial authority is made clear, understandable, and easier. Becoming competent in writing skills is important for college students, as it will aid in self-advocacy, career success, and communication for clarification and causation.
Writing As a Coping Skill Has the Potential to Create Art
A thirteen-year-old girl was faced with the inevitable and hospitalized for several weeks as she processed her new life. She wrote inspirational and optimistic songs that prophesized the brighter, prosperous, and impactful future that she had desired. Singing was a habit that she had adopted at an earlier age, so it complemented her ability to write. Those songs have allowed her to step out of her comfort zone by sharing and encouraging others to not give up during life’s hardships.
You may have guessed that the young woman mentioned above is me. Though writing is inevitable, it is also one of our greatest gifts. The ability to communicate is a skill that constantly must be refined and sharpened throughout one’s whole life. Perhaps you have to write a memo at work, an essay, or even notes in class or in a meeting. Beyond work and school, writing can be an artistic outlet that is used to reduce stress. No matter the type of writing you are doing, it is a gift in all its forms if we recognize it as such.
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