Senior | Yonkers, New York
What made you decide to become an English major?
English was the only subject that I ever really cared about. I’ve always loved reading, writing, and storytelling. It felt like a no-brainer.
What has been your favorite class in the English department thus far, and why?
I’m terrible at picking favorites, so I have to cheat and choose two. The first is Reading as a Writer with Professor Elliott Holt. This course was organized so well. The assignments, the readings, the discussions—all of it felt actively relevant. It was helping us understand the choices that writers make, thus helping us examine the choices we make. Professor Holt helped me start writing in a genre that I had been intimidated by: realistic fiction inspired by my own life. Some of my favorite stories I’ve written have resulted from overcoming that hurdle.
The second is Queer Austen, a senior seminar with Professor Wendy Lee. In taking material that most English majors are familiar with (Jane Austen) and pairing it with different theoretical texts to find acting definitions of “queer,” this course truly forces you to think outside the box. Whenever I write an essay now, I hear Professor Lee’s voice in my head: “Is it risky enough!?” Her knowledge of the material and enthusiasm make it impossible not to feel excited while you’re brainstorming and analyzing.
What has been the most influential work of literature in your journey as a writer thus far, and why?
It feels strange to say that I owe it all to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. At eleven years old, this was the first book that completely consumed me. It showed me that writing can be entertaining and make a statement about what’s going on in the world. I will always be in awe of this novel. Years later, it made me realize that I could be creating stories as well as consuming them. And, here we are.
Can you tell us a bit about your Creative Writing Capstone project and your experience in the CW colloquium?
As of now, my project consists of three short stories inspired by my experiences with romantic love. What happens when your overdeveloped fantasy is confronted with the reality? I want to explore things like jealousy and manipulation.
The colloquium has been really helpful so far. The major difference is that the students in it have devoted their education to reading and writing, whereas in the Creative Writing workshops, students come from all fields of study. The same story could be beloved in a workshop and torn to shreds in the colloquium. It’s all meant to make the story as strong as possible, though. So I’m really looking forward to seeing how my work changes!
What do you consider the most rewarding part of being an English major?
Simply put, being an English major teaches you how to effectively understand the ideas that someone is presenting and how to put your own ideas into words for others to understand.
You are graduating soon--congratulations! Do you have any post-NYU plans yet?
It’s still pretty up in the air, but at this point, I might be doing another internship or participating in the Columbia Publishing Intensive. Regardless, I’ll also be continuing to pursue my Young Adult novelist aspirations: writing, revising, querying some agents, etc.
What advice would you give to students considering majoring in English at NYU?
This doesn’t specifically relate to being an English major, but there’s something I wish had been drilled into my head when I was starting college: seek out opportunities! For a long time, I had the idea that my dreams would come to me, but you truly have to go out and look for them. Do your research. And then, apply to the internship, attend the club meeting, submit to the magazine, ask the professor for help. Whatever it may be, I can tell you with complete certainty that the regret you feel over not doing something is much worse than any potential embarrassment or discomfort. But also, be selective about who you take advice from. I’m just a 21-year-old college student. What do I know?