Oghene Oyiborhoro

Oghene Oyiborhoro circa 2005-2006

Alumni Feature

Much like many of you, upon entering University Writing (UW1020) during my first year I had minor trepidations. UW1020 was essentially an introductory writing course that challenged students to improve their writing and critical thinking skills through a series of complex assignments and exercises. In my course, “Picture This: Writing about the Visual and Verbal,” we were tasked with developing blog posts about contemporary issues that we found to be of great interest and to subsequently both share and explore said posts with our peers.  Students from that course would concede that our conversations generally vacillated from vigorous to subdued coffeehouse discussions.

My professor at the time, Caroline Smith, was quite ambitious in buttressing our writing, throwing students right into the thick of things with great readings and daily philosophical conversations that struck at the heart of what it would mean if we met the fullest potential of our individual writing abilities. What’s more, it did not hurt that Professor Smith had an open door policy and frequently gave constructive feedback, whether or not it was to our liking.

One such instance that made UW1020 exceptional was our unusual connection with Chuck Palahniuk, the eccentric author of Fight Club. His regular correspondences with our professor, while often unusual, stirred something in me – a recognition that writing was not merely an art but rather a serious endeavor that called upon the best we had to offer.

Today, as I work on my first foray into narrative nonfiction with “Runaway Trinity,” I recall the importance of fully embracing UW1020, at a time in my life when adolescence seemed to push my interests in the opposite direction.  Further, my approach to writing has continued to evolve over time, harkening back to the UW1020 notion that to be a good writer involved removing any arbitrary barriers and constantly working on one’s craft.

Oghene Oyiborhoro received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University in 2009 and his graduate degrees from Columbia University and Georgetown University in 2014 and 2016, respectively. He currently serves as a senior executive at a communications firm. Oghene Oyiborhoro photo from 2017