by Jacqueline Ott
English in the undergraduate realm is filled with uncertainty. Unlike our peers in biology, engineering, business, and nursing, we have no set path after graduation. Will we go to graduate school? What are our chances of getting a corporate job? Do we even want that corporate job? Right now we’re not sure—all we are sure of is that close reading gets you sometimes uncomfortably deep into a text and that the books lining our bedroom walls will be carried with us wherever we travel next, either in the recesses of our brain or in the cardboard moving boxes that’ll be our vehicle into the future.
And that’s why it’s nice, while we’re here now at least, to meet with likeminded people for a scene of camaraderie and the only thing the English major is really sure of—words. NUCL, or the Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature, is an annual conference held every year at the University of Portland. Now in its lucky thirteenth year, this year’s conference features students from around the continent, with presentations from contributors from as far as Ohio, Texas, and Calgary in Alberta, Canada. The conference offers panels to hear what our peers have to say on various subjects, from feminism and fairytales to how individuals deal with trauma in the use of collective history.
Contributing to events like this—showing up, asking questions, moving forward with ideas to gain a deeper understanding—is something that we, as students, should not take for granted. It’s something that not everyone has the opportunity to enjoy , and something that we may only have the chance to engage with these four years here at UP. That’s why I’ll be attending NUCL; I want a chance to engage with my peers, with their ideas, and with texts that exist outside my own field of vision. I hope to see you there too.