Hello! I’m back for the Capstone, and so excited to finish up this last semester writing a lot! I have always done a consistent amount of writing in my course work, but it is usually limited to argumentation and research papers. In my seven semesters as a political science major I’ve gotten pretty good at writing the two, six to eight page papers that all my social science classes require. I am hoping through the more flexible Capstone, I’ll be able to take a few more risks and break out of this mold. The most interesting writing I have done in the past few months has actually been outside of my normal courses, and for different and new communities.
Last year I spent the winter semester in Washington DC, interning for the think tank, Center for American Progress. There I worked on a team devoted to women’s reproductive rights and I found myself writing for the policy community. I was very fortunate to have a supervisor that trusted me to do some of the initial drafting of issue briefs and other products that we would put out. It was really exciting to be working on a topic I am passionate about and contributing to a larger body of work for a broader audience. Even though I was very eager, it took a while to get comfortable with this community’s style and medium. The writing had to be direct and clear, rooted in facts, yet still with an inherent persuasive tone. The goal is to be informative on an issue, while also convincing the reader that this is an issue that deserves their attention and that we have a good solution. I loved working in the fast paced environment where things could change in a few minutes. One of my favorite products I worked on was a column, “Congress Must Stop Playing Politics with Abortion.” It was a response to a few controversial actions in the Congress, and it was one of the first times I actually got to work on a piece that spoke directly to something happening right as I was writing. Even if only in a small way, it is cool to think I contributed to an ongoing conversation.
In the last few months I also found myself writing in a much smaller community,: admissions committees to law schools. I obsessed over these short answer questions, resumes, and personal statements for most of the summer. I felt the stress of having just 750 words that could be what determines such a huge part of my future. Yet even with that pressure, it was nice to reflect on my goals and for once not cite anything. I looked back at a lot of my writing to sort of track my progression of the last four years, both in my skill and my discovery of what I want to do with my life. With such little space I had to be incredibly strategic: tell a story, but still get the point across, show my personality, but don’t be casual. After months of rewriting I produced really tight writing with what I hoped was the right amount of determination, humility, and inspiration.
I enjoyed writing for these two communities that both vary in their scope and subject matter. And while the subject matter of the writing is very different, in both I essentially was trying to capture someones attention and sell them something, whether it be a policy suggestion or myself as a law student.