Lauren

Class of 2012

Hometown: Woodbury, MN
Majors: English: Literature and Writing and Psychology
Involvements: Theater, Inkstone Editor, Resident Assistant, Student Activities Council Coordinator

Why did you choose Northwestern, and why did you choose your concentration or major?

I chose Northwestern for the community. The first day I visited I noticed that people I didn’t even know would smile at me on the sidewalk or ask me where I was from and who I was. I wanted to attend a college where I could simultaneously grow closer to the Lord and in community. I chose Psychology as my major at first as I loved understanding the individual workings and personalities of people. At the end of my sophomore year, I added English: Literature and Writing as a second major because I have always loved the beauty of language and wanted to learn how to read, write, and make art with it in a professional way.

How have you been stretched and challenged by your concentration or major at UNW?

I’ve definitely been challenged by a lot of the literature courses I took in my major. I had always wanted to read many of the famous classic authors, and while I loved working through them in class, there were definitely moments where it was difficult. I had also never written a real poem before my Writing of Poetry class, so there was quite a lot of growth that happened in my first several months as an English major.

What do you value most about the English Department at UNW?

Once again, I truly value the community in the English department. More than any other department, I think the English department is very intentional about getting together and spending time as a group. There are a lot of events, parties, poetry readings, and the like in which an English major can participate. The professors and students also get to know each other very well because of this.

How have you changed as a result of your concentration or major at UNW?

I think writing (and by proxy, literature) has caused me to enter into a whole new country inside my heart that I never knew was there before I became an English major. Creative writing has helped me learn to communicate messages about life that I never would have been able to verbalize otherwise. It is a lens through which I can see the world in all its beauty and also a way to reflect the creativity of the Lord.

What is something that surprised you about your concentration or major at UNW?

I felt like I had come home when I took my first poetry class and realized everyone there thought similarly to me. The creative things I had always taken an interest in were respected and honored, and it was such a joy to learn with people who valued what I valued.

Tell us about your favorite or most influential class within your concentration or major?

I really enjoyed Autobiographical Writing. I wrote short memoirs about things that I didn’t even know were inside me, and it ended up being a very therapeutic and freeing practice.

What opportunities have you had that resulted from your concentration or major?

Multiple internships, one at Minnesota Public Radio and one at Redleaf Press, have resulted from this major. At Minnesota Public Radio, I had a communications internship which was not directly related to my English major, but I used my editing skills to help copyedit MPR sections in the magazine Minnesota Monthly. I also worked with news outlets like the Pioneer Press and the Star Tribune in order to gain information about MPR mentions in articles. At Redleaf Press, I had an editorial internship and did everything from proofreading manuscripts to registering for copyrights to sitting in on cover art meetings. I have also received a great gift in the knowledge I’ve learned from the accomplished and published professors that teach my literature and writing classes.

Share a distinct story, memory or class experience that you've had in your concentration or major.

I will always treasure the trip the English majors took to the Festival of Faith and Writing in Michigan. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the conferences on creative writing and gained a wealth of knowledge from all of the authors presenting.

What would you share with other prospective students considering applying to be a part of the UNW English Department?

I would definitely say to go for it. The English Department is a strong, innovative, and imaginative community that is full of individuals who love the written word and what it can do. Not only will you be changed because of your experience in this department, but you will change others through what you share and communicate with them about life.

What would you like to do when you graduate from Northwestern? What do you hope to eventually do with your education? How will your concentration or major help you with your plans?

Overall, I want to write. However, in the meantime, I plan on doing some freelance editing, and I am currently looking for a job writing for a magazine or company of some sort. Every institution needs writers, so I’m not worried about getting a job. I’m also considering a master’s degree in creative writing at the moment.
Tell us about: A life-changing moment? Something you’ll never forget?  Anything you’d like to share!
Getting deep about my life circumstances and hearing the deepness of other classmates’ life stories have truly changed me. The English major is unique in that you gain a delicate understanding of the life-affecting moments that many experience. By reading about the happenings in others’ lives and writing about your own, you will gain a wealth of understanding, compassion, and transparency that can only be considered healthy and life-giving. This will be something I will always treasure and never forget about the English department.