I see students wasting opportunities every day. Every time we lose a writer I shake my head.
"What do you want to do?" I ask.
"I want to write," they say.
Then why are you leaving? By all means, stay, practice, get comfortable with style and diction; these are things they cannot teach you in tech writing or advanced comp. It takes practice, drafting over and over, reading what you've written, reworking it, writing it again.
Plus, when you show up to a job interview, they won't say, "Wow. This is a wonderful double spaced research paper on mythological imagery in Frankenstein. Gee, you even got an 'A.' Look, I need you to cover the president's press conference tomorrow..."
The publishing world wants to see published clips. I saw a great example of this after my design editor was offered two freelance jobs as a sophomore and her upperclassman friends were passed over. Why? Because she had published clips in her portfolio.
This has been pounded in my head for the past few years by advisors and professors from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) and the College Media Advisers (CMA). ACP and CMA hold a large conference every spring, summer and fall, where college newspapers, yearbooks and broadcasting congregate for a giant conference full of info on everything: science writing, blogging, podcasting, newspaper design, website design, editing, management and advertising. You name it, they cover it. We're going to St. Louis for the convention this year.
It's only two weeks away now. I could use the break.