Student Spotlight: Claire Chaney
The English Department at Clemson University emphasizes the importance of strong writing skills, no matter what career you may be pursuing. While many English majors hope to follow similar lines of work, a significant percentage of the students within the program hope to pursue less “traditional” paths. Claire Chaney, a Junior English major and Communications minor from San Jose California, has always had a passion for writing and journalism. She knew that she wanted to combine her love for writing and books with extra communication skills that would be useful in pursuing a career.
After graduation in December of 2018, Claire hopes to find a job that will allow her to incorporate branding and marketing through writing, possibly within the realm of music or politics. Claire says that Clemson has allowed her to not only gain practical work experience but has also given her the chance to take a variety of classes. Since the beginning of her college career, Claire’s English classes have pushed her to become a better writer. She initially thought that some of the required literature classes were unrelated to her desired career path, but she can now appreciate how they allowed her to improve her writing. One of Claire’s favorite classes was Dr. LeMahieu’s “Critical Writing About Literature.” Dr. LeMahieu’s emphasis on clear writing and peer essay workshops pushed the students to improve with each assignment.
Since her time at Clemson, Claire has had multiple work opportunities that provided her with valuable real-world skills. As a Sophomore, Claire was an intern with the Pearce Center for Professional Communication for the entire year. In that time, she worked with clients and created projects that are now deliverable work samples for her résumé. Following that school year, Claire interned with a local PR and marketing firm in San Jose California. She says that gaining experience on campus helped her to show her potential employers that she had a variety of skills and was able to implement her ideas in a tangible way. Claire has also written for two different music blogs: “When the Gramophone Rings” and “Half&Half.” She has a passion for music as well as writing and loves getting the opportunity to combine the two. She has written album reviews and has even covered different concerts for the sites. Claire’s advice for students who also wish to write online is: “Get online!”. She recommends that you find blogs and sites that write about things you love. Chances are if they’re just starting out, they can really use contributing writers. Claire’s experience with music blogging all started when she was reading an article about one of her favorite bands. If there’s a contact page, do not be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself!
Claire’s favorite part about being an English major is that the department offers a space for students to discuss their opinions and further their writing skills. English classes are uniquely fun because of the way you get to interact with your peers. The biggest misconception about the English department, according to Claire, is that anyone who is an English major wants to become an English teacher. She believes that teaching is not the only profession where the skills that English teaches are important. To Claire, being an English major is learning to read, analyze, and discuss literature as well as practice writing in order to improve both critical thinking skills and writing which are useful in many different career fields. The department imparts a serious emphasis on the ability to ask questions and express opinions in a fair way while also providing plenty of opportunities to enhance writing skills.
Written By: Lauren Golden