It takes a leap of faith to follow your passions—especially when you're an undergrad and have to declare a major. Do you start your academic journey to be the next Pulitzer Prize–winning author? Or, do you take a more practical route and take general business courses to land that first job? For Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Writing graduate with distinction—and one of our first scholarship winners—Aisa Valenzuela, she opted for the latter: studying IT in college but never ignoring her desire to write.
Working as an IT project manager in her native Philippines, Valenzuela's love for the written word became too great to ignore, so she picked up some freelance magazine writing. Desiring a formal education to ease the path of her career change, Valenzuela also needed a curriculum that was flexible enough to meet her demanding schedule. UC Berkeley Extension’s writing certificate fits her needs. "There was a good mix of courses available across several genres and disciplines," she says. "I liked that the courses were offered both online and in the classroom. I took the online courses when I lived in the Philippines and the classroom courses when I moved to San Francisco last year. I was able to complete the certificate quickly and with a lot of flexibility."
I took the online courses when I lived in the Philippines and the classroom courses when I moved to San Francisco last year. I was able to complete the certificate quickly and with a lot of flexibility.
For any aspiring writer, getting constructive feedback is key to sharpening the skill set. In both her online and classroom courses, Valenzuela was able to receive that necessary advice while also providing a built-in organization to keep her on track. "I was really impressed with how structured the courses were and how effective the online method of instruction was. I got a lot of really good feedback. In the classroom, I really appreciated the personal relationships I formed and the networking opportunities that arose from my teachers and classmates. I have a writing partner that I met in class!"
Interested in pursuing a journalism career where she can blend her backgrounds of writing and tech, Valenzuela feels well prepared to build her portfolio while freelancing. She has contributed her time and efforts to UC Berkeley Extension’s first writing publication, Ursa Minor. She has attended her instructor Margo Perin's book launch and public reading, "Opening my eyes to, 'Yes, you can do this!'" And, she has been published in a Philippine magazine, thanks to an assignment in her Journalism Workshop course. "That class showed me that I have the skills, but now I need to hustle, work hard and create my own opportunities. I feel grateful that this certificate gave me the inspiration and skills to make this career change. I know that I have grown not just as a writer, but also as a human being. This certificate gives my resume a sense of credibility and legitimacy."