I knew Champlain was for me as soon as I stepped on campus. My mom found the school, and I wasn't excited about the idea of leaving Massachusetts, but I remember walking through the Hauke Courtyard and picturing myself on the way to class.
It took me some time to find the right major. I came in as Computer Science, switched to Creative Media, then finally realized my writing courses were where I was happiest and most engaged. That's what's great about the Upside-Down curriculum: you find out fast whether you're in the right major, and if you're not Champlain will put you on the fast path to switch. If I've learned anything in my time here, it's that the professors care immensely about their students. I've found numerous mentors, and had the pleasure of having real discussions with faculty who treat their students not only as pupils, but also as people with valuable perspectives. In fact, almost everyone I've met through the school is passionate, motivated, thoughtful and openhearted; it's an amazing community.
I'm in the Professional Writing major now, and I'm thrilled with my progress. I've been able to secure two internships, showcase my work at multiple readings, and had my pieces published online and in print. Without Champlain none of this would have been possible. This is a school that opens doors for its students, and that's not something you'll find at every institution.
Thomas, Professional Writing majorBurlington, MADIVISON OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
Olivia knew she wanted to write but she wasn't sure what. The Professional Writing program allows her to explore various genres instead of confining her to a single one.
When I was looking for colleges, I knew that I wanted to attend a school with a strong writing program. Specifically, I wanted a major that wasn't going to be an English or Literature program. At the beginning I really wasn't sure what kind of writing I liked best, so I wanted to dip my toes in all different types (journalism, poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, etc.) instead of pledging to a certain discipline. Champlain gives you that possibility.
One of her most rewarding moments was...One of the classes that has proved most rewarding was the Publishing in the 21st Century course. In that class, I got to publish an anthology of Champlain student-written poetry. We did mostly everything ourselves, from choosing the poems and photographs and designing and sending off the files to the printer, to coordinating where we would sell the publication. It was a real-world experience that translated directly to my major and what I want to pursue in my career, which is incredible.
Olivia feels empowered to reach her goals thanks to the work she experienced in her major.Because of my work within classes, I feel enabled and empowered to pursue activities outside of class that utilizes the skills I've learned. Every single day, I feel like I can employ the things I learn in writing classes, as well as what I've learned through professional portfolio classes. I have started my own publication with a friend off-campus, and I have had the opportunity to work with my advisor to workshop my poetry. I really feel like I am able to use the skills that Champlain has helped me build, and apply them to real life.
Other reasons she loves Professional Writing at Champlain...The Professional Writing program is so wonderful because it feels like a little bubble of inclusivity. Our artistic license and wingspan is constantly supported by every one of the faculty members. I love that we are treated like both artists and technicians in our writing. All of my professors take my writing seriously, and that is important to young writers. When you're just finding your footing as an artist and as a student, it can be so frightening to try new things or test out forms you've never done before. It's important to have a group of people there to support you and enable your growth, which is what every member of the writing program has done for me.
What's next for Olivia?Leaving college, I'll have a jam-packed résumé that will be recognized in the real workplace. I feel like I have been given a toolbox and be more successful because I am prepared. I do want to continue my education and possibly go on to get a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry (or something else, who knows!). But I am also hoping to make the publication I am working on a successful one and continue to broaden that post-graduation. I would also love to move around, experience other parts of the country and be free for a while before settling into anything long-term.
Olivia, Professional Writing majorLouisville, KYDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I knew I wanted to go to school in Vermont. The Professional Writing program definitely drew me in because it was focused on a general sense of writing versus going into a journalism major, which sort of freaked me out because it looked me into one specific kind of writing. The writing program at Champlain seemed way more open. I could go into journalism if I wanted to, or I could do something else.
In high school, I liked writing a lot of comparative analytical essays. When I came to college, I thought I was going to do that and it was going to be great, but then started to do way more creative things. I just love to read poetry, which is one of the reasons I got my internship as Editor-in-Chief of Willard & Maple, Champlain's literary magazine. My co-editor and I would help manage and facilitate the literary magazine class. We also put up a new website, got a New Pages listing for the magazine and got last year's magazine ready to publish. I also saw a lot of different kinds of poetry, and sometimes I'd use that as inspiration to write my own.
Josh graduated in May 2014 having been published in at least six different magazines. He will be teaching abroad through the Japanese Exchange & Teaching Program starting in August 2014.
Josh, Professional Writing MajorShrewsbury, MADIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
"Like the lion from The Wizard of Oz, I needed courage. I've always loved writing but never considered it as a career because I didn't think I could 'make it.' I realized that writing was the only thing I was passionate about, and so I took the plunge and came to Champlain declared as a Professional Writing major. The program has made me confident. I've now decided I want to work on scripts for the film industry and write cookbooks. I once wasn't brave enough to consider myself a writer, and now I'm secure enough with my ability to consider pursuing multiple fields.
"When I studied abroad in London during the fall semester of my junior year, I took a travel writing class that opened my eyes to my transformation as a writer. We were reading famous pieces about traveling, and then had to pen our own pieces attempting to emulate the style of the original. I tried my hand at writing like Jack Kerouac, using On The Road as inspiration, and got phenomenal feedback about the final piece. When I started at Champlain I barely thought of myself as a writer, and by the time I was studying in London, I was comfortable enough to try writing like Kerouac! I was always a writer--I just needed the confidence to act on it."
Lauren, Professional Writing majorPortland, ORDIVISON OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
When it came to deciding which college I wanted to attend, I was terrified. I applied to Champlain because I wanted to expand my writing skills and the Professional Writing major offered just that. Writing wasn't the only thing I wanted to do. In high school, I was blessed with teachers who really cared about me as an individual and they helped me follow my heart; I wanted to pay it forward and make a difference. I decided to do two things: follow my dreams by pursuing writing and become the best teacher I could.
On Accepted Students Day, I found my niche. I was coaxed out of my anxious shell in front of a room of strangers and asked to rattle off a poem I had just written. That action alone, the ability to make me be open, made it clear there was one place I needed to be: Champlain College.
The most important thing the Professional Writing program has taught me is not to pigeonhole myself. Veins of opportunity are opening up in front of us every day, and all we need to do is recognize and act on them. If there is something I want to do, there is nothing stopping me except myself and my own self-doubt. Once you dispel all that, the possibilities for what you can do are limitless.
Hayley, Professional Writing & Secondary Education Double MajorWest Hartford, CTDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I've always known I wanted to major in journalism, if not professional writing. When I looked at colleges, my high school had a program where I could search for my requirements for colleges. Champlain was one of the first ones that came up with a writing program, so I applied. I've really liked that the Professional Writing program at Champlain is not a literature program. I'm not studying Creative Writing through an English Department; most of those emphasize literature instead of the writing aspect of the degree. With the Upside-down curriculum, I even got to take writing classes starting in my first semester.
My professors here have been so close-knit and student-oriented. They're always checking in on me and sending words of encouragement. Warren Baker, in particular, has had a lot of confidence in me and helped me grow as an editor of Champlain's online zine, The Crossover, and next year, I'm going to be one of the head editors.
Champlain's connections in Burlington have also made a huge difference for me. I met my boss at True Tone Studios though Career Services' internship fair. I definitely wouldn't have met him, or gained the internship experience I've had, without that opportunity. Eventually, I want to open my own publishing house and I am so grateful for all the opportunities True Tone Studios and Champlain have given me.
Tori, Professional Writing MajorPleasantville, NYDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I have spent the most exciting three years of my life joking with authors, traveling to Ireland, building my website, founding a company and speaking to a crowd about my experiences as a writer. Champlain doesn't tell you how to write, nobody can. Anyone who claims to know all the answers, hold all the secrets, guarantee a quick trip to the top of the New York Times lists, anyone who makes those claims, is a liar.
There's a saying in the writing world, both famous and infamous: "Show, don't tell." The writing program at Champlain shows you how to write; it never tells you. Because of what I've been shown, I have an online following, my own media company, and a job as a media consultant. I led a workshop at the Burlington Book Festival the same event I cavorted with authors at during my first year. Within my first few weeks in Dublin, I was stopped on the street by two people who recognized me from my website. I signed an autograph for them, and I haven't even graduated yet. The kicker? The impetus for the site came from the very first class I took at Champlain. Even from the very beginning, the college sets you up for success.
After I graduate, I plan on working in publishing. Because of my time at Champlain, I feel incredibly optimistic about my future. Hey if people across an ocean recognize me, I must be doing something right.
Jeremy, Professional Writing majorPeaks Island, MEDIVISON OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
There aren't a lot of schools that have writing as a major, and when I first got a brochure from Champlain, I was really interested. I wound up visiting the school twice and I fell in love with it.
When I first came to Champlain, I just had my self-taught knowledge of writing, specializing in young adult fiction. The writing program here offered a variety of classes in several different kinds of writing which I thought would be helpful in building up my writing in different areas so I could have a writing career when I graduated. They have technical writing, journalism, food writing, publishing and all sorts of other classes.
Coming here has really taught me how to hone my skills and how to write better, like editing my own work and the feedback I've gained from my classes has really helped me accept constructive criticism better, so I'm learning skills that I can apply to the workplace.
Champlain has a place for everyone and you'll be welcomed with open arms no matter where you are on campus. It's just a really positive place to be and helps you grow as a person, educationally, emotionally, and I knew that once I came here, I wouldn't want to leave. It was true.
Daphne, Professional Writing MajorClinton, CTDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Even when I was a little kid, I filled journals with poems and stories. When I started looking for schools with majors in that field, all I could find were Journalism or English, occasionally Creative Writing. That's not what I wanted, though. I didn't want to confine myself to just one type of writing or even one type of study. That's when I found Champlain's Professional Writing program. I knew right away that this was what I was looking for: a program that helped you expand your horizons and try different kinds of writing, not just one.
I came to Champlain in 2011 primarily a fiction writer, but three years later I would say I'm a poet, a screenwriter, a copyeditor and many things in between. I've even started my own blog, Udderly Bovine, about dairy-free living and humorously celebrating cows, as well as helping to build two other blogs for clients. The program pushed me to try all kinds of writing, even when I was sure it wasn't for me. I dreaded having to take Journalism my sophomore year, but looking back I realize that even though I'm still confident I will never be a journalist, I learned so much in that class that is applicable not only to writing but to my life as well.
Because of Champlain, I know more of who I am and all I am capable of.
Annie, Professional Writing MajorDanbury, CTDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I've known I wanted to be a writer for a long time. In high school, I became really involved in journalism and thought I would pursue that field in college.
When I got an email from Champlain about the Professional Writing program, I really liked that I could take courses in a wide range of other writing genres, not just journalism. The fact that the program was both flexible and focused at the same time was incredibly appealing. Plus, a lot of students had been published before they even graduated, which I thought was amazing. I applied Early Decision without even visiting the school. I felt like Champlain was where I belonged.
Since I started college, I've found new passions. I'm focused on copyediting and publishing, and Champlain has allowed me to really tailor my education towards those interests. By the time I graduate, I'll have a Publishing specialization and will have taken courses outside my program in graphic design, art and web development to make me a more valuable asset to a publishing company. I'll also have four years of experience as a writing intern; one year as a proofing/copyediting intern; and one year as an Editor-in-Chief of the College's student-run literary magazine, Willard & Maple.
I've done so much more than I thought was possible because of Champlain. I can't wait to see what I'll accomplish in the future.
Shea, Professional Writing MajorSanta Fe, NMDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I've known that I wanted to be a writer ever since I was young, so when I was looking for colleges, I wanted a place that offered a degree in writing specifically, not just English with a concentration in writing. When I found Champlain's Professional Writing program with its Upside-Down Curriculum, and met the professors, I instantly knew that this was a place that got it. There was a focus on not only helping you pursue your passion and improving your craft, but also helping you to get a job after graduation. I applied Early Decision I to the Professional Writing program and was ecstatic when I was accepted.
I absolutely love the Professional Writing program here. No matter what kind of writing you are interested in-game writing, poetry, fiction, journalism—you can tailor the classes you take to achieve your goals. And the professors here want to see you succeed. They are knowledgeable, talented people whose insight and feedback I value immensely. They push me to be a better writer and my craft has already improved in the three semesters I've been here.
Through my classes and being an editor for Willard & Maple, Champlain's literary magazine, I've learned what makes a piece of writing great and how to apply these skills to my own work. My writing has definitely improved as a result, and I can't wait to learn how to get my work published.
Amanda, Professional Writing MajorSomersworth, NHDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
When I came to Champlain, I enrolled into Game Art & Animation, but I realized that Game Art was not the right major for me. Now I'm studying Professional Writing and looking at completely different career paths because of the different avenues of writing I've been exposed to.
When I graduate, I want to work in journalism for a while. Being an editor for Champlain's online newspaper The Crossover has been stressful, but fantastic. I came up with the Arts & Entertainment section on my own, and I decided our mission statement would be, "Boredom is our enemy." Most of my writers had no experience in journalism; they were just interested in arts and entertainment. I managed to cultivate that interest to the point where one, a game programmer who had never written before, actually got a job writing for a game site because of the work I edited for him.
I'm also thinking about publishing and I want to get involved in the Champlain College Publishing Initiative before I graduate. I'm interested in experimental and modernist novels, like House of Leaves and Ulysses, which is what's currently drawing me toward the publishing field. I'm also interested in the potential of interactive novels, such as the iOS game Device 6, which may provide inspiration for my Capstone project.
Ultimately though, my goal is to be a screenwriter for TV. I want to be a show-runner. I love the idea of having complete control over the creative aspects of a show.
Tyler, Professional Writing MajorSuccasunna, NJDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
Senior year of high school, I really started turning my focus to writing and enjoying it. I had looked at English degrees at other places, but an English degree always has to work its way into something. Champlain's Professional Writing seemed to make its own way. I was drawn to the all-inclusive package, rather than going to school for just poetry, or journalism, or publishing. I could get the full spread. I felt like I was going to get all of these really applicable, technical skills in all these different areas. I'd have a bunch of different avenues to explore, and then afterwards, would really know what I wanted to do and have the skills to accomplish it.
I've really been able to explore my options. I've gone through a bunch of shifts while I've been here, and so has my writing, but they were all good ones. I've worked with the Champlain College Publishing Initiative; really built up my creative writing knowledge and portfolio; and also taken Journalism, Screenwriting and Creative Nonfiction, so I have those building blocks. My experience as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Willard & Maple, Champlain's literary magazine, was another shift but it taught me how to manage a project from start to finish and really know what that takes. Even when it was hard, it was still helpful to see that I have all these other areas that I can focus on. I feel like I ended up in a good place.
Seth, Professional Writing MajorBangor, MEDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA