Major/Minor(s): English – Spanish, Creative Writing
Estimated graduation date: 2020
Hometown: American Fork, Utah
Favorite book: All the Pretty Horses/Blood Meridian
Favorite author(s): Cormac McCarthy, Marilynne Robinson, Flannery O’Connor, and Junot Diaz
What have been a few of your favorite classes within the English major and why did you like them?
English 218, 319, 419, 669 – basically all my poetry writing classes. I’ve also loved having English 358 (Latino Lit) and English 365 (Contemporary Lit 1960 – Present). There’s no complicated reason for why I like these particular classes: I like reading and writing poetry and reading and writing about contemporary lit.
Do you have any favorite non-English classes?
Yeah – Intro to Plant Biology and Foundations of the Restoration – both super fascinating .
Tell us more about your experience using your Spanish/Creative Writing minors in conjunction with your English major? What do you like, dislike, etc?
Well, Creative Writing isn’t too much of a stretch from the core English degree – it just requires a different muscle. Creative Writing is kind of a misnomer, or, at least, it’s kind of a disingenuous term, not because writing poetry or fiction or creative nonfiction isn’t a creative act but because so is writing literary criticism. To write really clear, elegant criticism takes a lot of invention. Anyway, this is all to say the two categories of writing and, therefore, the English and Creative Writing degrees, are fraternal twins at their most distant. As far as Spanish goes, the cliche that learning a second language heightens your ability to interact with your native language is super true. I am more than convinced that learning a second language is one of the best things you can do for you English degree, in addition, of course, to all the empathy you gain for other cultures and practices.
What are your future plans/professional aspirations?
I am shooting for a professorship, so, ostensibly, a PhD is part of the plan. I would be thrilled to get my MFA from Iowa or NYU, but I still have a while before I apply.
What have you learned from your major?
A whole bunch.
What advice would you offer to a newly declared English major?
To make sure that this is what they love doing. Part of being an English major or, I suppose, any Humanities major is enduring flak from well-meaning family and friends from STEM or business fields who don’t see the practical value of an English degree. It is the capital C cliche of the English program that someone along the way will ask what on earth you plan on doing with your degree. Hopefully you have some semblance of a response (it would be good to figure out how you plan on paying for food after college), but, even if you don’t, hopefully you understand that there are enough accountants in the world and, if you love doing this, that is good enough. Remember that as long as you’re trying your best, God will take care of the rest.