The “Who Cares? Why Bother? Real Writing for Real People” Writing Symposium occurring in the rooms of Grand Rapids Community College’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center on Wednesday and Thursday. The event, held all day during its two day run, had a great turnout with an estimated 80 to 50 people attending each of the twenty-four sessions. Each session was free to the public, with no registration required.
One session entitled “How I Turned One Good Idea Into a Book Series” was led by Mursalata Muhammad, professor of English, who introduced speaker Paul A. Krieger, professor of Biology and author of the Visual Analogy Guide Series. The lecture began with Krieger discussing how one idea he had altered his life and work.
“It started with an idea. The idea was to teach students anatomy and physiology,” Krieger began as he stood before the crowd, smiling. “The idea was visual analogy.”
Krieger spoke to a crowd of fifty or so attendees about how he turned that idea into an entire book series that is still used in schools across the country, as well as the honest truths about the business aspect of trying to get published.
“Always read the contract thoroughly,” Krieger said. “Don’t sign your life away.”
Students attending the sessions reacted well to the lectures they attended. Elizabeth Holton, 40, a GRCC student said, “I attended the lecture because it sounded interesting. It’s nice they brought it here for the students to go to.”
The symposium covered a variety of subjects that illustrated that writers aren’t just associated with journalism or books. Writing is an integral part of everyday life, and fundamental in every career. The main focus was to show attendees that being able to communicate through writing sets us apart in any chosen profession, and that polishing our skills when it comes to writing will be beneficial for us.
Lauren Rasikas, 19, another GRCC student, attended a lecture for class credit. “I think it’s good,” she said about having a series that focused on writing. “Some people need help. They can take notes during the lecture and it will help them because writing is important in every career.”
The annual symposium emphasized the importance of knowing that any career we go into requires excellent communication and writing skills, and by improving these skills we make ourselves more valuable to our employers.
During each session of the symposium, experts from all walks of life spoke to filled rooms of eager, curious minds about writing: how writing is essential in their careers; how they came to be where they are in their careers or areas of expertise because they honed their writing abilities; what writing can do for students and their future, depending on the subject-matter; why writing is important in life; and at the end of each session, the speakers gave the attendees words of advice based on what they have learned over the years.
This year’s symposium was the first one Heather Flynn, 25, GRCC student, attended. “Writing is an everyday thing. It’s important. I will be back for next year’s.”
The annual writing symposium will be back next year with more enlightenment for its attendees. The message sent each year this symposium is occurring is this; writing is the difference no matter where you go and what you plan on doing with life.
Before his session came to a close, Krieger left the attendees with his final words of advice, much like other lecture sessions did. “The learning never stops. When you’re working on your writing skills, know that those skills apply to a lot of things. It can help you for your careers down the road.”