by Ashlee Amann
“I never chose this major. Professional Writing chose me.”
Caitlin Vukorpa, a 2014 graduate of the Professional Writing major, had been admitted to Michigan State University in the last few months of her senior year in high school. With her roommate, nursing scholarship, and “Go Spartans!” T-shirt all set for the fall, Caitlin never expected to end up at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.
“It was a required class during my final high school semester that made me change my mind. It was called College Writing. I knew I could be good at nursing, but I absolutely loved writing. Through both athletic and academic scholarships through Taylor University, I matched my nursing scholarship.” Before Taylor, a writing profession had not seemed possible for Caitlin. She had heard the writing majors at other schools were a “joke” and involved a lot of heavy literature. “I wanted to be able to tell a good story . . . the fact that softball also opened up was awesome. I was able to continue doing the sport I loved while pursuing the career I wanted,” she said.
While there are many stereotypes for the average Professional Writing major (heavily involved in theater, currently writing a novel, preferring the company of other introverts), Caitlin has broken almost every single one. Her childhood was filled with sports, not the theater or literary classics. If she had the option, Saturdays would be spent at the Detroit Tiger ballpark. “I love sporting events. If I could have my way, I would probably spend the day watching the Detroit Tigers or the Michigan State Spartans play football.”
Known for her trademark ponytail, sarcastic personality, and love of a good laugh, not many would guess she has the same insecurities we all face within the Professional Writing department. Being surrounded by accomplished professors and other aspiring authors causes many PWR majors to question their ability and talent. Caitlin responds by either avoiding those situations or “stepping up [her] game, writing, or personality.” Insecurity is a feeling many writers will face throughout their career, but ultimately, Caitlin wants others to see the dedication in spite of that feeling. “I would like to be known by those around me as being a good, hard-working person. On the field, I like to be known as a contributor.”
As one of the few athletes within the major, Caitlin faces different challenges than other PWR majors. The Taylor University softball team is dedicated and competitive. She gets to travel the nation with women who share the same passion for softball. However, her love for softball also comes at a price. “I will receive a writing assignment that I know I want to do right, but I never feel like I have the time. Writing is a process; when you’re an athlete, you don’t have time to process much of anything.”
Nevertheless, Caitlin has managed to take her writing skills to the next step with screenwriting. She currently has a few projects in the works, which have revealed a previously undiscovered passion for movie production. Caitlin believes her drive and will to challenge herself comes from her role model: her dad. “He didn’t have much of a role model himself. He spent a lot of his time building his own life without help. Today, he has an excellent job and incredible work ethic. I hope that one day I can [show] the strength that he does.”
She tends to approach life like she would a softball game. While she does not “perform” like she would in softball, her work ethic is the same. “In order to be good at something, you need to practice day-in and day-out. Nothing comes free.”