This week, the WRD Alumni Spotlight features Tim McElroy, a 2015 graduate of the BA in WRD program. He currently works as a writer for a digital marketing firm in Chicago, Illinois.
What have you been doing professionally since you earned your degree?
I’ve been working at a digital marketing firm in Fulton Market, located in the West Loop. As a writer in this setting, I’ve been working a wide range of various jobs within my company . PR, press releases, ghostwriting, copywriting, editing – the list goes on and on. It has been an incredibly satisfying and unpredictable journey; to this day, I can’t quite believe everything I’ve had the opportunity to do.
What is a typical day “on the job” for you?
A typical day on the job is anything but typical. I go through the standard motions – checking email, seeing if I have meetings, and so on – but a standard day at a startup means you’re constantly on your feet. Anything can come up at any time, and I love it. One minute, I’ll be writing copy for an investment website and the next, I’m writing a script for a comical commercial shoot. It gets hectic, but I wouldn’t be half the writer I am now without this setting.
How did your education from DePaul influence what you’re doing now?
The sheer range of classes I took opened my eyes to entirely new perspectives all the time, which continues to be a humbling experience. Specifically, though, Vincentian values have played the largest role in preparing me for where I am now. I realized that I’m not obligated to serve my community; I’m privileged to serve it. Applying that mindset to my role as a writer at a marketing firm has opened more doors than I can possibly list, and I continue to keep it at the forefront of my mind each day.
What were the most helpful courses you took in WRD?
I’d like to list them all, but in particular, WRD 104 jump-started my passion for writing and got me into the program. Argumentative Writing, Composition and Style, Writing and Social Engagement, Sports Writing In America, Writing In Workplace Contexts, and Ghostwriting were all monumental in my development as a writer. Anything that took me out of my comfort zone had more of an impact than I can say.
What advice would you give to a WRD student who would one day like to work in job like yours?
Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate; it truly begins for the first time. Get out there, try something new every day, and presume nothing. The most impactful learning experiences come from the most surprising places. Your mindset gets you the job you want, not just a list of skills on a resume. And as always, remember that serving your community is a privilege. That’ll take you farther than you can possibly realize.