A 2021 UA Little Rock graduate has achieved her dream of becoming a professional writer nearly 30 years after she first considered becoming a writing major in college.
Virginia Pitts, a native of Bismarck, graduated high school in 1992. She first attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville for a short time, but didn’t follow through on her desire to become a writer.
“I wasn’t in the right frame of mind then,” Pitts said. “Deep down, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t have the nerve to pursue it.”
Later on, Pitts met her husband, Jake, and had four wonderful children. She decided to take a second chance on going to college.
“I found myself with four kids, and there was a lot of pressure on my husband to provide and I wanted to ease that pressure,” she said. “I also wanted to finish what I started. It was really important to me to get a bachelor’s degree and earn it myself.”
In 2017, Pitts enrolled at National Park College and graduated with an associate degree with honors in 2019. She found UA Little Rock’s online bachelor’s degree program in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing, and said it hit her like a ton of bricks.
“I was very fortunate to find the online Professional and Technical Writing Program at UA Little Rock,” she said. “UA Little Rock is a good school. As soon as I saw that program, I knew it for me. It felt like an epiphany that this is what I am supposed to do. The degree introduced me to a lot of writing styles and genres. I knew it would give me the opportunity to apply the program to a lot of different writing jobs.”
At UA Little Rock, Pitts found mentors in professors Karen Kuralt, Londie Martin, and Greg Graham. Under Dr. Kuralt, she put her newfound skills to good use as an intern at Wildwood Park for the Arts. She even wrote a grant to help Wildwood purchase a golf cart to shuttle passengers in need of assistance.
“I would just like to thank all the teachers and staff at UA Little Rock for a job well done,” Pitts said. “I want to thank them for their support and their assistance during classes. I really miss the whole experience. It was an amazing chapter, but this next chapter is turning out even better.”
In May 2021, Pitts graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a perfect 4.0 GPA. Wade “Pete” Tubbs, editor in chief of the Malvern Daily Record, hired Pitts as a staff reporter in September. At the newspaper, she enjoys telling the stories of the people in Malvern.
“I did a story on the Urban Search and Rescue Team that came to do some training with the Malvern Fire Department and I got to watch them in action,” she said. “I did a story about a Malvern veteran who was inducted into the Arkansas Military Hall of Fame on Nov. 6. . That was an honor. It’s something new and different every day, and it’s a dream come true.”
Nearly three decades after first thinking about becoming a writer, Pitts said it still feels like a dream now she has accomplished her lifelong goal.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Pitts said. “My boss is very complimentary and told me I am a great writer. It took me so long to even pursue a writing career, let alone achieve it, that it’s taking me some time to believe it’s real. I have a lot of goals. I think every writer dreams of writing a book one day. For now, I’m basking in the moment and enjoying this opportunity.”
For any other students who are thinking about going to college, Pitts would advise them not to waste any time in pursuing your education.
“You just have to dig deep and be brave and figure out what you want to spend your time doing,” she said. “I think the most important thing is to know what you want to do. If you don’t know, look at your opportunities, take different classes, and figure out what you are going to be happy spending your time doing.”