Senior | Piermont, New York
Why did you decide to become an English major?
I became an English major because I like crafting arguments from texts, and making observations about characters and how they are impacted by their environments. I think it’s applicable to everyday life to examine how Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet fixates on love as an avoidance to confronting the violent and aggressive hyper-masculine society he is in, or how the male gaze in Jean Toomer’s short story “Karintha” hinders her overall quality of life. Texts can demonstrate the violence of oppression on a human psyche, and for me, that always makes me want to become a part of a larger community that works to end things such as race, class, and/or gendered oppression.
What has been your favorite class in the English department thus far, and why?
I loved Professor Holt’s “Reader as Writer” course. I was exposed to a plethora of writers I had never read before, and I loved being in a seminar where students scrutinized specific words and their connotations as well as defending their interpretations of a text. I also loved how I was able to put the authors we read throughout the semester in conversation with my final creative writing project. Throughout the semester, we read authors who used cold or detached tones such as Joan Didion, Anne Carson, Claudia Rankine, Yiyun Li and Maggie Nelson -- and all the pieces we had read by these authors were written in a fragmentary style. This sparked my interest in writing a short story from the perspective of a young woman who is infatuated -- an obviously intense or “hot” emotion -- and presenting her and her thoughts in a controlled and cold manner, to create a sort of tension within her and the object of her desire. And like the authors I mentioned, I wrote it in a fragmentary style because the relationship is one that never reaches fruition, and I liked the idea of a story’s form echoing its heart.
What are some of your dreams, hopes, and aspirations for yourself after you graduate?
Before I left for college, a friend from high school sent me a snippet of an Emily Dickinson poem: “We uncertain step / For newness of the night,” and as a senior now approaching the end of college, I’ve been thinking about those words again for obvious reasons. I just hope that whatever stage of life I’m in, I’m always surrounded by critical thinkers, readers, and writers, and people whose politics are rooted in empathy.
What advice would you give to students considering majoring in English at NYU?
Take Social & Cultural Analysis classes. Learning about class, race, gender, and disability justice will shape and enrich your readings of texts immensely. Also, if you can, go to office hours. I’m really appreciative of the time educators -- such as Professor Holt, MC Hyland, and Saronik Bosu -- have taken to talk about literature, graduate school, and literary internships with me. Also, one of the coolest events I attended at NYU -- an event in which Lisa Darms talked about the history of the riot grrrl movement through the zines available in the Fales collection -- I wouldn’t have known about if I had not gone to one of my English IV lecturers, Patrick Deers, office hours.