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  • haydynwallender7

VWS Agent Panel

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Hello, little loves. Welcome to the English Experience, a blog for all things English. This blog began as a project for one of my final courses as a WSU undergraduate, but is slowly becoming one of the smartest ideas I've ever had. Here, I plan to post about all of the opportunities I've had, skills I've obtained, and things I've done regarding the English language that y'all may find helpful, or just simply interesting. Without further ado, lets dive into one of my experiences as a WSU undergrad.

Visiting Writers Series

In March of 2020, I took a course that was taught by WSU Professor DJ Lee. After just a couple weeks in her class, I knew that I was going to love it, and her. I began to speak up in class, make some new friends, and push myself out of my comfort zone in writing. The classroom environment was amazing. After class one day, DJ came up to me and asked me if I'd ever heard of the Visiting Writers Series, or VWS. I told her no. She proceeded to ask me if I would be interested in an internship with her, and her coworker, Cameron McGill. I immediately said yes.

We began having meetings in the summer to prepare for the Fall 2020 semester. Because of COVID-19, we weren't sure what the agenda was going to look like. To be safe, we planned online visits with authors, agents, editors and freelance writers, to ensure that we would have a successful turn out. And our first event for Fall 2020 was one that I hosted.

I worked for weeks to write the introductions for the three lovely ladies that attended our panel, which were Taryn Fagerness, Kayla Lightner, and Anne Horowitz. It was two pages long, and I rehearsed for hours to make it perfect. Though it was a completely new setup for all of us, we got the hang of it rather quickly, and the panel went better than we all expected.

Taryn, Kayla and Anne were so easy to talk to; I was so nervous that I would have no idea what they were discussing, and that it would be filled with awkward pauses and stupid remarks on my end. There were definitely some of those moments, but it wasn't as terrible as I thought it was going to be. I had a couple of questions that they answered, and then we opened up the Q&A function for viewers to ask questions, and I would convey them to the panelists. It was an overall wonderful afternoon, and something that I never would have been able to do if it wasn't for my connection to DJ.

New things can be intimidating. Heck, new things can be extremely scary. But after that one experience, I am now able to say I hosted a panel with agents and editors. I can say I know how to navigate Zoom and online technology; I can say that the experience made me think deeper about the English major, and what our career has to offer the world. I never would have been given the opportunity without saying yes months prior.

When it comes to your major, but especially English, say yes to as many things as you can. If you have the chance to be a part of something, please consider it. Join that club; read at Open Mic. Those experiences are not only priceless, but they make you a more cohesive and better you at the end of your college experience. So take the risk. Jump in. And try something that you never would have considered before.

Until next time, little loves.

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