Rachel Wyatt

Class of 2016, BFA in Creative Writing, minor in Business Administration

Rachel Wyatt

What was your favorite part of studying Creative Writing at UE?

I don't think a week goes by in my "adult" life that I'm not grateful for something I gained while I was at UE. The professors were easily my favorite part of the Creative Writing program. I made use of every professors' office hours and got one-on-one advice that I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else. It was always clear to me that my professors had given my work a careful read and they offered earnest and helpful advice. I hope all writers will understand what I mean when I say there is a special moment that happens when you can discuss your characters on a name-by-name basis with someone else, and when you realize that other person is really thinking about your story and your characters. Almost a light bulb moment, when you think, "This story is finally starting to come alive for someone else." I had that experience with every one of my UE professors.

What did you experience in UE’s CRW department that feels special/unique to our program?

I chose UE's Creative Writing program because I love the practical skills that are inherent in the work. As a Creative Writing major, you don't just write--you edit, you critique, you listen, and then you edit some more. Those are the traits that, in my opinion, lead to successful writing. The program at UE taught me to balance volume with quality, and I'm really happy with the work I did in the program. As a proposal/technical writer, I would guess that 10% of my time is spent writing and the other 90% is spent listening to feedback and editing. UE's program prepared me for a wide range of careers by emphasizing these skills.

Of course, I also have to mention studying abroad at Harlaxton. I got to take multiple classes on British literature at Harlaxton and go on field trips to see a production of King Lear in London, visit where Jane Austen lived, and meet students from other schools that share my passions.

What was your favorite Creative Writing class and why?

It's hard for me to choose just one! I took Literary Criticism my senior year, and while it was one of the most challenging classes I took in my time at UE, I loved the discussions and the new ways it got me thinking about literature. I love that I got the chance to dive into a subject that is usually only taught at the graduate level. I also loved Creative Nonfiction. Before I took that class, I wasn't very interested in the genre, but taking the class completely changed my outlook. I looked forward to the readings every night and learned so much about a genre I hadn't even considered before. It was a class where I could feel my writing and my voice being shaped as I worked through the assignments.

What are you up to now?

I work as a proposal/technical writer at an engineering firm in Washington, D.C.. I help the different departments respond to commercial and government requests for proposals to win new work.

I'm working on a couple of projects right now, including a novel and an experimental nonfiction piece. Both of them have a long way to go before they're ready for publication! It's something I want to pursue in the future, but for now I'm just enjoying all the time I have to read.

Feel free to edit this as you see fit. A little ashamed to admit my copyediting skills have declined over the past year and a half...most of the "editing" I do now is scanning last minute documents to make sure no one accidentally left the "f" out of shift work, etc.

And if there is anything else I can ever do to help you guys out, don't hesitate to ask. Seriously. I don't think a week goes by in my "adult" life that I'm not grateful for something I gained while I was at UE.

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