Cold Weather, Warm Conversation

As the temperature drops and the new semester starts for many college
students, Erskine begins what its students affectionately call “J-term.”
This one-month semester in January offers students the opportunity to take
one class that they might not otherwise have time or desire to take at a
much slower pace than during the normal semester. Instead of taking a
class, for my sophomore year I am externing with Erskine’s communications

Today, instead of browsing college pamphlets and literature to learn about
publication style, voice, and design, I had the chance to sit down with
Mrs. Joyce Guyette, the Associate Director of Written Communications at
the home of the Flying Fleet. Mrs. Guyette writes for the campus alumni
publication Inside Erskine,and proofreads some of Erskine's other

After earning her English major, Mrs. Guyette attended graduate school and
completed her coursework after her first child was born. From her
description of her various editing and proofreading positions throughout
her life, a common theme has risen from Mrs. Guyette’s timeline of jobs.
Instead of a strategic career track or plan to climb the ladder of
English-related jobs, Mrs. Guyette seems to have been found by her editing
positions. She displays a great faith in the Lord, staying true to what
she enjoys, and trusting Him to provide. Moving around from places like
Florida, Tennessee, and North Carolina, the Guyettes currently find
themselves in the Palmetto state, with Mrs. Guyette enjoying using her
English major to write and proof for Erskine College.

In addition to talking about what has led up to her position at Erskine,
Mrs. Guyette also shared a bit about the writing process with me. One of
my favorite anecdotes she shared was about her uncle, who served as senior
editor and senior writer at Sports Illustrated some years ago. He told his
brother, Mrs. Guyette's father, that he hears the rhythm of the writing in
his head. I found it particularly interesting to learn about how her jobs
differed in respect to work environments, group work versus individual
assignments, and her transition from thinking on paper and working with a
typewriter in college to completing the whole writing process on the

It was encouraging to learn that she was able to use her English major in
many ways that she loved. While I’ve heard many times about the benefit of
teaching after receiving an English major, it was inspiring to hear about
the many other prospects available for English majors. Also, in the
climate of pressured career preparation and long-term planning fostered in
college, it was relieving to hear a success story of someone who followed
what she loved, pursued education in what she enjoyed, and let the Lord
lead her to thoroughly enjoyable job opportunities.

After sharing her story with me, Mrs. Guyette offered some advice
regarding my college education. I am currently a double major in English
and Art, but have been on the fence as far as the English side goes for
the past semester. However, Mrs. Guyette encouraged me to take time during
the slower January term to stop, think, and pray about what direction to
go, and what to major and minor in.

I loved talking with Mrs. Joyce Guyette about her experiences in the
English world; her love of writing and editing seems to be contagious, as
I find myself reconsidering the English track at Erskine more deeply than
before our conversation. She has a wealth of information, and it was
wonderful to have a conversation with her.