by Danielle Childs
I have the pleasure of living next to Amanda on campus in Mehling. I am an RA and she is the lone English major on my floor. One of my favorite things to come home to is Amanda in her room, door open, sitting on her bed reading a book that isn’t required for one of her English classes. As a junior English major, who regretfully never reads for pleasure in the school year, seeing Amanda this way reminds me of the pure, basic, and intuitive love that I, and probably most English majors, developed in childhood, long before literature became an academic pursuit. I admire the purity of her passion, and it is something she has chosen to share beyond herself. Amanda participates in the SMART Program (Start Making A Reader Today) which is designed to encourage a love of literature, and a level of literacy, in children that they’ll carry with them throughout their life time. She is a wonderful example of how to blend academic passion with community involvement. I recently had the opportunity to ask Amanda a few questions.
- Why did you decide to become an English major and also why did you pick UP?
I wanted to be an English major because I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. I feel like that’s such a standard response. But it’s true! I love how I can pick up a book and be transported to a different place or feel different emotions. I enjoy recognizing different literary devices that authors employ or finding quotes that are just spot on. And I feel like writing is such a great way to express what I’m feeling. I picked UP because it just felt like the place I belonged. As soon as I visited the campus, I knew it was meant to be.
- You have another major as well, psychology. How do you think it works alongside English?
I think Psychology works alongside English well in that it can help to understand characters more deeply through their thoughts.
- What extra-curriculars have you become involved in since coming to campus last fall?
I’ve really become a lot more involved in my faith. I enjoy going to Bible Study and Living Stone meetings each week. I’m also a member of Voice for Life and of course, The English Society.
- Tell me a little about the SMART program. How did you get involved? What do you like about it? Would you say it has been a valuable experience?
I actually got involved in SMART through an e-mail I received from Dr. Brassard mentioning it as a volunteer opportunity. I like seeing the cute first graders each week and how much they enjoy reading certain books. It’s definitely been a valuable experience because I can pass on my love of reading.
- We’ll end with a fun one. What is your favorite genre/author/book? At least right now!
I never know how to answer this question because I feel like as an English major, I need to give a sophisticated response. But honestly, my favorite genre is young adult books. My favorite author is John Green, but my favorite book is either Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver or The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider.