My Homework Was a Ticket Into The Professional World And a Paid Job

By Erin Papakostas ’23

My homework was a ticket into the professional world and a paid job. That’s right: because of a class assignment, I was presented with an opportunity to do freelance writing, and I now write for several magazine publications around the Lake Norman area.

Let me explain how I went from trying to get an A on an assignment to getting a job in freelance. This past semester I took Dr. Churchill’s class, Literary Analysis, which is the gateway course for English majors. Our final assignment was to write a profile of a Davidson alum who graduated with an English degree, and learn how their degree and Davidson experience prepared them for their career. To search for alumni with interesting careers, I used the Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN), a database of alumni who have volunteered as career resources for Davidson students.

Excited to learn about the professional world, I contacted alums with careers that piqued my curiosity. When I spoke with Delia McMullen ‘88, she was eager to talk about her career as content coordinator for neighborhood publications around Charlotte: Myers Park Life, SouthPark Life and Dilworth Life. I am especially interested in freelance writing, so McMullen’s experience caught my attention. After exhausting my questions, McMullen asked me if I would be interested in writing for her publications. As an aspiring writer (whose summer volunteer plans in Mexico had fallen through), I jumped at the chance to learn the ropes of professional magazine etiquette and see my writing published.

I have no ties to the Charlotte area, so we decided it would make more sense if I wrote for publications close to Davidson. McMullen put me in touch with a contact of hers, Tara Marshall, who works as content coordinator for three Lake Norman regional magazines: The Peninsula Navigator, The Talking Point, and River Talk. I sent Marshall my W9 paperwork and began taking assignments. My work consists of interviewing residents to write fun articles that highlight new families and accomplished kids in the communities.

My class assignment gave me the chance to network without even realizing it and receive professional experience while doing what I love most: writing.

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