And the short course in feature writing at City Varsity comes to an end. What a journey it has been. From finding time to get to class in peak hour traffic, to rediscovering the concept of “homework” to being back in a school environment. I’ve enjoyed most of it.
What I struggled with the most was changing my routine. Knowing that every Wednesday and Thursday, from 17:30 to 19:30 I was going to be somewhere, was very difficult, especially being a full-time employee. Besides learning all the great things about writing, I also learnt to manage myself and my time. There were weeks when I thought I wouldn’t be able to attend class, but you make it work. You go.
What I loved about the short course in feature writing was how extensive and full the syllabubs felt, even though we were only there for a short period of time. I took something away after every lesson, something that I knew would add to my writing. When people think “short course” they think “short cut.” You want to learn something quickly without putting the time and effort into it, but this was not like that at all. I think what made it good was the lecturer. This goes across all forms of higher learning. If the educator is equipped and capable, it makes things a lot easier.
I would recommend City Varsity those people who want to learn, but have very limited time. The course is enriching, and valuable, especially for those people who want to add to the qualifications they already have. The only thing about doing this kind of short course is that you never get a vibe of the campus. The day is pretty much over when you get to class, and the only students you get to interact with are the ones in your class. There was never any real time to just kind of hang out on the grounds. I went to class and I went home. That was the extent of it. So in terms of a “campus vibe” I can’t say I felt it, but a “class vibe” was what I enjoyed.
I’m grateful that I was able to do the course, and I hope it will improve my writing but what I’m also thankful for is how it has made me curious about perhaps exploring the other courses available. Education is addictive.
I’m currently sitting in my City Varsity feature writing short course and today’s lesson is BLOGGING! On WORDPRESS. I feel like I have a bit of an advantage, as most of my classmates have never used WordPress before so they’re just opening new accounts as I type this. I feel like I was let in on the secret before everyone else, even though I’m still learning new things.
I think there’s a lot to be said about confidence in your writing, but even more to be said for insecurity. Even if you feel like you have the correct tools, and have gone to the right schools, if that fear of not being absolutely great at it is not there, there’s a problem. There’s a certain anxiety with letting all these judgmental eyes see your work, but if they are, let them see it on the best possible platform you can get it on. I enjoy WordPress because it allows me the space to write and write and write, but also the confidence to feel like it looks good for someone to read.
I’m half-way through my Feature Writing course at City Varsity and I’m starting to pick up momentum. When I began, I felt like a high school student in the first term. There aren’t any exams during that time so you kind of use that term to relax and settle in. When second term comes, you’re ready for anything. This is what I feel like as I approach the second half of the course. The more I write, the more I want to write. Writing in itself has never been easy, but I’m starting to realise that the the more pieces I do, whether putting together a profile or writing a restaurant review, the easier the words seem to string together on a keyboard.
The value of a seasoned writer as my lecturer helps. I’ve never been one to shy away from criticism but there’s always that nervous feeling in your stomach when someone, a talented someone, looks at your work and evaluates it. The insecurities come up, and you start to wonder whether you’re actually good at it. Will she have good things to say about it? Am I on the right track? The great thing about school is that if you kind of suck, it’s a space where you can learn to “unsuck” so to speak. Those who will gain the most from a course like this, particularly one that runs over 2 months, is that you learn to become a sponge. There is no luxury of time. You go to class. You’re present. And you engage.
As the weeks go on, I’m starting to see class attendance dwindle. The last class had only two people in it, me and Priety, a chef who wants to improve her writing so she can write about her work. It was slightly awkward being one of only two people in the class. It felt almost like detention. We were being punished for attending school. The upside of it is that we had our lecturer’s full attention and were able to get that one-on-one time.
I can smell my Teacher’s Pet Award already! Don’t bunk class, kids. You’re giving those who do, double the value of the course.
I’m four classes into my City Varsity Feature Writing Short Course and what a whirlwind it has been. I’ve already learned so much. What I love about the course is that there are only 7 of us in the class, lectured by a brilliant writer –Karen Jayes. We’ve covered a lot in the 8 hours we’ve been there but the most interesting thing I’m finding about being back at school is how different it feels because I’m also working full-time too. My classmates are also either working full-time, or full-time student at other institutions. It is incredibly inspiring to see people coming to school at 17:30 every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, after a full day at the office and give their call to each class. That is what motivates me to keep coming back.
I didn’t have any expectations when I started at City Varsity 2 weeks ago. I knew it would be intense, as all short courses are, but I also find that the classes is structured so well that you cover a wide array of feature writing in a short amount of time, without every feeling short-changed.
People have asked me why I took up this feature writing course, with many saying you already have a column with News24, what else could you possibly want to learn? I say you never stop learning, and even though I have my Journalism degree from Rhodes, my thirst to know more still runs. deep.
I’ll be putting up a post every few days about my City Varsity experiences, and the struggles of working and studying.