Take time to practice professional writing

With my time at The Oakland Post finally coming to an end, I thought a retrospective look at my tenure here would be appropriate, considering the effect it has had elsewhere in my life.

For the better portion of 2009 and 2010, this was my only job. Starting off as a staff reporter, I didn’t make much money, but looking back, I realize I made something more valuable than money.

I started writing here in October 2009 having never taken a journalism class and not writing journalistically since my senior year of high school. I wasn’t even in the journalism school; I graduated with a degree in business management and human resources management.

Writing at The Post, however, developed my critical and creative writing abilities into something that my newest employer, a marketing firm, said was the deciding factor in my hire.

In this age of 140 character Tweets and instant messages, spelling and grammar skills have deteriorated in an alarming number of students.

Yes, anyone can create and author a blog or write notes on Facebook. Twitter updates are even considered publications now. With the quality editorial staff of The Post, though, you can get real guidance for crafting award-winning articles.

I can only speak from my own perspective as a business major, but I think writing is often something that non-journalists view as a struggle they’d rather avoid.

Undergraduate students are faced with a challenge once they enter college — writing developed research papers for general education courses while expressing themselves clearly, confidently and concisely for an audience, something they may have never done.

Obviously, there are writing classes available for non-journalism majors, but with The Post being inside the Oakland Center — the hub for student activity — joining the staff here is a cheaper and time-friendly alternative.

Regardless of where you go when you leave Oakland University, written and verbal communication skills are critical to finding success in the career field.

I have also made connections that I would have never made without writing for the newspaper and interviewed people I could have never met otherwise.

In addition to nearly every head coach and dozens of athletes on campus, I’ve interviewed Food Network personality Alton Brown, comedian Charlie Murphy and hip hop superstar Lupe Fiasco.

What kind of connections would someone normally need to have to be handed similar opportunities?

With my time at The Oakland Post, I was able to meet them, and even got paid to do it.

While I can’t promise you will make money or meet celebrities, I can tell you that writing for The Post will drastically change your job outlook when it comes time to graduate.