Noodle Expert Kendra Whitmire discusses the role German grammar ended up playing in her college career and what it's like to write for others for a living.
Who would you pick, alive or dead, to be your teacher for a year? What would you want to learn?
This is such a difficult question to answer. There are so many amazing people, both alive and dead, who would be invaluable teachers. Marie Curie, Leonardo Da Vinci, Maya Angelou, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Amelia Earhart, the Dalai Lama … my list could go on and on. If I had to pick just one, I would probably select William Shakespeare. He was not just an amazing wordsmith; he truly understood humanity. I believe the reason his plays and poetry have lasted through the centuries is his ability to depict the best and worst of humanity, and everything in between. I think it would be an invaluable tool to be able to understand people so well, if it is something that can be taught.
What is one small piece of advice that has had a big impact on your life?
This is not so much advice as it is a quote that constantly rings true in my head: "Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind."
Where would you send a student who hasn’t traveled before?
This is another difficult question for me to answer, as there are really so many amazing places in the world that I have visited … and many more that remain on my bucket list. I think I would have to choose the U.K. I feel it is a good initiation for someone who has never traveled internationally, especially if they are scared to go somewhere new. It is a beautiful country, especially the Cliffs of Dover, Stonehenge, the Cotswold’s. The nice thing about England for someone who has not traveled before is that you do not have to worry about a language difference. Additionally, although the British culture is unique, it is also close enough to American culture that there is not much of an adjustment.
When was a time that you failed academically, and what did you learn from the experience?
When I was in college, I was a double major: German and English. I initially learned German while I was an exchange student in Austria. Although my vocabulary was strong, allowing me to test into German 4, I missed out on a lot of the grammar basics. In one of my upper level German courses, I ended up getting a C, mainly because of my poor grammar skills. I had tried everything I could do to improve my grades, including talking with the professor several times. Although I was disappointed with the outcome, I did learn how important taking the time to learn fundamentals can be to success. I also learned that sometimes you may do your best and try very hard, but the outcome is still not what you had hoped, and it is not the end of the world.
Why did you go into your field, and how is it different from what you expected?
I am a freelance writer, focusing mainly on writing blogs and SEO articles for a variety of industries. I chose to become one almost by accident. I studied English in both undergraduate and graduate school, so I have a solid command of the English language and decent grammar. I also enjoy writing and learning new things. I thought that by becoming a content writer, I would be able to constantly learn while also getting to write. I also am intrigued by the impact digital marketing and social media has on today’s society. The biggest difference from what I expected to my actual experience is that sometimes, it can be quite boring writing for other people. Although I still find it fun to learn new information, it is often at such a surface level that it is not always as satisfying as I would have hoped.