Student Stories: Rodney Fair

Rodney Fair

Major: English

Rodney Fair decided to pursue a writing credential after receiving advice from two people he loved and respected—his father and his late wife.

“My dad’s encouragement was an honest and frank email response to several pages of a short story I had begun. He said, ‘You are clearly capable of writing, as we can see. Now you need to learn how to write.’ He told me that writers write what they know—they write from experience,” he said. “I reread his email just before starting at College of DuPage. It reminded me of something he had written years before in response to my amazement and delight at how much my own children amazed and delighted me every day. He wrote, ‘You should write. You are already a better writer than I ever was.’

Adult Student Admissions at COD

“My wife’s encouragement was short and frank. I told her I planned to publish a work in my retirement. She said, noticing that I had not been doing actual writing, ‘Writers write. Dreamers dream.’ I decided to ‘learn how to write.’”

With only a high school GED and limited earning potential, Fair initially wanted to attend COD to earn an associate degree and then transfer to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree. When he told his counselors about studying English and creative writing, they convinced him that COD would teach him how to write as well as provide a solid general education foundation.

His counselors also suggested he consider one or more of the certificate programs. On the advice of several professors, he was inspired to pursue the Professional Writing certificate.

“COD has given me the courage to face opposition with well-written communication and introduce the unknown with compassionate yet confident and professional language,” he said. “In the Professional Writing certificate program, I learned how to write for different audiences. At my firm, I have several—law clerks, legal assistants, paralegals, office clerks, accounting specialists and administrators, attorneys, subject matter experts, and occasionally clients. I learned in Professional Writing that I need to craft my communication to reach each of these audiences in different ways that will address their unique concerns, ease their anxiety over difficulties with the technology and applications, compel them to read, inspire and lead them to accept change, and explain processes in clear and often non-technical English.”

Fair was grateful that his professors welcomed questions and thankful for their invaluable input.

“The faculty at COD supported me and patiently redirected me when I went into the woods, which I did in every class, by the way! They frequently expressed a sincere desire to see me succeed in my studies. Any success I have achieved is because they encouraged me to cultivate ‘a teachable heart and the ability to learn,’ to quote a phrase I learned before I enrolled at COD and have quoted frequently over the past several years. They also made me realize that I love learning.”

The faculty frequently expressed a sincere desire to see me succeed in my studies.

Rodney Fair

With one general education requirement left to fulfill, Fair looks forward to finishing his degree. His ultimate goals are to determine where he might best use the skills he acquired at COD and, after retiring, to write for a living.

Having enjoyed his experience, Fair highly recommends the Professional Writing certificate program at COD to anyone.

“Talk to a counselor about the program as soon as you enroll at COD. They will help you choose the prerequisite and elective courses that will benefit you most,” he said. “There are so many fields in which you can apply what you learn in the program. In fact, any profession you choose will benefit greatly from the skills you will acquire. The faculty will do all in their power to help you succeed. May you thrive in the Professional Writing certificate program and enjoy the journey as much as I have!”

Learn more about the English program at College of DuPage