Why ENG 101 Matters by Kate Shapiro

posted Nov 22, 2016, 9:08 PM by Writing Center

You may ask yourself, why should I learn to analyze a text? What practical purpose does that serve? In college, I had a hard time writing essays for my freshman English class because I didn't understand why it was important for me to learn these skills. When I left college and entered the business sector in New York City, I finally realized that the analytical skills I learned in my English 101 class actually applied to the real world.

 

My first job was with Dailymotion, the French version of YouTube, and when I got the job I thought that all I would do all day everyday was watch cat videos and makeup tutorials. I found out that working in new media wasn't just sales pitches, online videos, and business trips to conventions in exotic locations (though I did get to go to Wrestlemania in New Orleans). For the clients I managed, I had to draw up proposals about the state of our business and how we could improve our relationships and increase revenue. Most of my communications with clients were over email, where every word mattered. Especially since the clients could very well show the communication to their lawyer. I also had to look at written materials from clients and analyze what they needed and how my company could help them. One grammatical error in a brief to a client could break a deal. If I couldn't punctuate a sentence, why should they trust me with hundreds of thousands of dollars? Additionally, I quickly realized that emails had to be short and concise. Most people read it on their phone in the subway while running late to a meeting, so I had to get to the point quickly. I looked back and realize that editing and eliminating redundancy were some of the many skills I learned in ENG 101.

 

I coasted through my English 101 class. I thought it wasn't important so I didn't try. When I realized I needed to know these skills, I was already out of college, and in order to learn them, I had to educate myself. I took online grammar classes. For me, the interactive element of online grammar workshops is so much more helpful than reading a book on grammar or listening to a lecture. I also subscribed The New Yorker so I could read great essays and analyze how they worked. I had to improve my editing skills. Twitter helped me with that. Only having 140 characters to articulate your thoughts really helps you focus on every single letter in your sentence. Those are just a few tips you can do to improve your writing at home.

 

Most of you are still in college. Learning to analyze texts in your English class will help you in the future. You will also learn the critical thinking skills that are essential in the real world. I guarantee that you will, at one point, have a boss who can't analyze a problem. You will have to read long, meandering emails that don't add up to anything.  You will do tasks that don't relate to your job because your supervisors can't analyze a problem.  You can be better though. You can take the skills you’ve learned and use them to elevate yourself and your career.

 

So pay attention in English class, because having valuable writing and critical reasoning skills will help you in the long run.

 

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