What inspired your award winning essay:
I had just read an essay about the complicated presence of war memorials, and it made me think about how our digital age has changed memorials and grief. Technology has seeped its way into nearly all of our social interactions, bringing even the most private moments, such as grief, into the public sphere. For me, a good essay can balance both the positive and negative aspects of a subject, moving around it in interesting ways. So that’s exactly what I tried to do, using my own personal experience with my sister’s passing to explore how technology has affected grief for the better and for the worse.
You were chosen to be on ProMazo’s list of Most Interesting Students for a reason. Do you have any advice for other students hoping to create their own success:
I think it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not smart enough, not talented enough, not anything enough to achieve your dreams. It’s easy to convince yourself not to submit to a publication, not to apply for that job. My advice would be to just keep going - keep putting yourself and your work out there, and eventually, you will obtain your goal. I would never have expected my essay to make it to the final rounds of the contest, let alone be selected as the winner, but if I had never taken that chance, I wouldn’t have this incredible opportunity.
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” - Joan Didion.
Biggest role models or inspirations:
I’m incredibly inspired by nonfiction writers. It’s such a vulnerable, challenging act to expose your innermost thoughts to the world. Some of my biggest role models include Joan Didion, Cheryl Strayed, James Baldwin, Jeannette Walls, and Maya Angelou.
Used to craft miniature “books” out of cardboard and construction paper as a little kid and give them as gifts.
I am currently working as a freelance writer, applying for entry-level positions at publications, and beginning to expand the essay into a book. The greatest privilege would be to call myself a “Writer” someday and have it be true.