Senior | San Diego, CA
What made you decide to become an English major?
I had been at community college for three years, intending on majoring in biology because I wanted to be a park ranger and also because I thought a STEM degree would be more “practical” than something in the humanities. I met with a counselor to discuss transfer requirements and I think she could tell that I was sort of aimless––she suggested I consider an English degree since she saw me reading in the waiting room. I was at a point in my life where I needed someone to give me permission to change my mind and I became much more engaged with school once I started studying something I genuinely enjoy. I never saw the counselor again, but she changed the entire trajectory of my education and I owe her a lot for that.
What has been your favorite class in the English department thus far, and why?
Reading as a Writer with Professor Elliott Holt was a pleasure, as was the master class I took with Professor Zadie Smith and a class in African literature I had with Professor Ato Quayson. It’s wonderful to have someone very smart and well-read give you a reading list and then spend the semester finding out why each book or story on it is significant.
What has been the most influential work of literature in your journey as a writer thus far, and why?
I love the way Elena Ferrante portrays female friendship in The Neapolitan Novels, and I realized while reading them that I find books about friendship infinitely more interesting than stories about love. I am also really drawn to Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin, and the short stories of Lucia Berlin.
Can you tell us a bit about your Creative Writing Capstone project and your experience in the CW colloquium?
My capstone project is a sort of bastardized personal essay about my own life where I shifted around the timeline of events in order to give it a better narrative arc. Professor Holt is a great editor and I’m lucky to work with her, plus the class is full of such astute readers that nothing gets by them. They notice everything and it’s incredibly helpful.
We heard you are a recipient of a DURF grant--congrats! What will you use it for?
My friend Anna Van Dine and I are making a podcast about Craigslist and the ways it mirrors and connects the community it serves––it is going to be a compilation of interviews and stories. Audio is an expressive medium and I’m excited to work with it for a large-scale project.
What do you consider the most rewarding part of being an English major?
Studying literature makes me more observant––not only while reading but also while interacting with the world. Close reading fosters a habit of paying attention and noticing connections.
What advice would you give to students considering majoring in English at NYU?
Don’t bother pursuing this major if you aren’t going to do the readings.