Archive for the ‘personal story’ Tag

Graduation 2014: I did it!

Graduation Ceremony 2014

Commencement (Photo credit: William Colburn)

Looking back at these last two years, I’ve overcome some obstacles, but I do have a lot to be proud of. Though it was the sum of hard work rather than a story in itself, I did apply for and earn the technical communication scholarship all 2 out of 2 years that I’ve been here. I had a great internship experience. I’ve maintained multiple part-time jobs while earning high honors as a full-time student. What’s more, catching up after losing 3 weeks of school due to an injury that required surgery while planning a wedding pushed me to grow in time management. Despite the challenges, I set a goal to earn a second BS in 2 years and I did it!

Outside of classes, there were some experiences that I’m glad I added this time around. When I was studying chemical engineering, I was very busy and focused. I wanted to graduate in 4 years and move on to the next thing. This time, studying technical communication, I was still focused, but I wanted to get the most out of my classes and work on people and leadership skills. I might have been able to get a second BS in less than 2 years because nearly all my core requirements counted, but then I would have lived a much less balanced life and I probably would have been set back when the unexpected happened. (I was not expecting to be getting surgery the same day as job fair during my last semester.) I’m really glad I decided to challenge myself to learn more people and leadership skills as a Resident Assistant. I’m an introvert, but I was able to use extrovert skills when required.

I’ve come a long way in 2 years. I thought I had a good start in visual and verbal communication, but my work has gotten much more professional. I got interested in web design and was able to explore that interest in Visual Communication (TC 151), Web Design (TC 351), and my Senior Thesis (TC 422) project. Studying technical communication challenged me in different ways than chemical engineering did. I got a strong foundation in math and science studying chemical engineering and I learned more ways to express these ideas in technical communication. I’m happy to have degrees in both of my passions.

Why am I studying technical communication?

Studying technical communication feels like the right thing for me to do now. There are several things that draw me to the TC field. I hope to gain skills in speaking professionally, technical writing, and editing. Through the course of my studies, I hope to glean an overview of the career possibilities in the technical communication field, and I want to be able to visualize myself working in the field of technical communication.

When I was in high school, I thought about majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in technical communication. I chose chemical engineering because I was always good at math and science, enjoyed chemistry, and was interested in engineering. I considered technical communication because the topic of communication fascinates me and I like working with people who love learning. I didn’t get a minor in technical communication while I was completing my BS in chemical engineering because I wouldn’t have been able to finish in four years. I didn’t have enough room in my schedule because when I got to college I was undecided and took classes towards chemical engineering, chemistry, and environmental engineering to help me decide.

Though I have a BS in chemical engineering and have taught high school math and science, I still feel like I have a lot to learn. I consider speaking one of my weaknesses. I took Speech and Advanced Public Speaking because I felt nervous just introducing myself in Statics class (granted it was a class of about 80 students) when I was a college sophomore. My senior design professor complimented my speaking ability after my senior design presentation and I still feel as though I need more practice. I also seek to improve my technical writing and editing skills. The people with degrees in technical communication from NMT who I have worked on projects with have impressed me with their technical writing and editing skills.

I know a few people who have a BS in technical communication. Two of my friends wrote the proposal that helped get equipment for the new TC lab we New Mexico Tech students have access to today. One of them now works as a technical writer and support specialist for Indian Health Service. The other one was a documentation specialist at NRAO until her contract was up and is now seeking to use her amazing technical writing and editing abilities to find a job in Chicago. One of my friends is IT Director at the office of Senator Jeff Bingaman. Another one of my friends became a systems engineer at ShoreTel after studying information technology at RIT. I also know someone who went into graphics and web development.

Through observing the experience of friends, I know there is a lot I could possibly do in the field of technical communication. I have many interests and believe the skills I will learn in technical communication will provide many career options that would be a good fit for me.