After Creative Writing

By Rebecca Straznickas  (’12)

When I was thirteen years old, I was accepted into a relatively prestigious program where for two hours every day I would be part of a community, full of people kind of like me. These people loved to write, and any personalities that followed that love had to be good. Socially inept and fully hoodied, I entered room 202 terrified that everyone inside would recognize I did not belong and would write me off as unworthy and pathetic. I sat down and prepared to prove–to Heather, to all those intimidating upperclassmen, to myself–that I deserved to be there, and that I had something to offer this community.

I’m not going to lie and say that by the second week of freshman year I had blossomed into some wonderfully well-adjusted woman of the world or anything. I did, however, feel accepted, and that was a good start. That year saw my writing develop more quickly than it ever had, saw me perform that writing in front of actual audiences, saw me teach sixth-graders at Hoover Middle School how to write for themselves. It saw me on the start of four of the best years of my life.

I’m home for winter break now, after my first semester at college. I’ve been reading (and I mean, reading) through the building blocks of western literature, learning Ancient Greek, exploring the roots of geometry, singing Dorian chants, even dissecting cats. Most of this work has been done through discussion with my instructors and classmates, and I can tell you right now that nothing could have prepared me more thoroughly than my time in Creative Writing. Creative Writing is all about writing, of course–but it’s really about working with others, collaborating and accepting help from peers, talking through ideas and even emotions. Being a C-dub is like preparing yourself for living in the real world, where isolating yourself will only get you so far.

And in case you were wondering which college I attend, it’s St. John’s College (no religious affiliation implied), and I would strongly encourage anyone interested in Creative Writing to at least take a look at the school. I’m looking at you, Abigail.

In short, my life has been permanently marked–in a beautiful way–by Creative Writing, and I bet that goes for most of the department’s alumni. The future looks good for the current C-dubs, what with the mental and emotional training they’re getting. For anyone hoping to become a C-dub themselves, please apply, take that interview, and if you don’t get in, try again. This community isn’t for everyone, but if you feel drawn to it, why not give it a chance? It can only change your life forever.