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Studying at Rauner Library

For the first time since freshman summer, I am not taking classes. Because of how my D-plan worked out (of course modified because of factors like the pandemic as well as the GI Bill, which funds my education), this spring is noticeably different than other terms. And yet, I am not just sitting around doing nothing with my time. Instead, I am pursuing an academic passion of mine, while also getting funding for it! This term, I am doing a research fellowship through the Leslie Center for Humanities. The project I am doing is an interconnected short story collection set in an evangelical youth group.

Me with one of the books my advisor assigned for me to read
Me with one of the books my advisor assigned for me to read!
Based on some of my own experiences as well as further research and interviews, I wanted to pursue a project that allowed me to exercise my writing skills as well as intersect with my interest in religion. Throughout the fellowship, my days have included writing various short stories, with topics ranging from religious camps, day-to-day life in a youth group, or even issues such as abuse or religious doubt. I feel I've been able to look at the intersection of religion, American culture, and coming of age in my stories, and I hope to continue as the term progresses. Not only have I been writing, I have also done some interviews! Just last week I interviewed two college students who were in a youth group growing up, and about their experiences, especially as women. It was not only insightful but held so many ideas about how to flesh out a story from a female's perspective. 

For the rest of the term, I will be writing a bunch, trying to get a couple of more stories finished before June. However, even from the stories I have now, I am really glad I could just spend a term writing something I am passionate about!

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