I started writing when I was too young to understand the significance and beauty of the craft or how it would eventually change my life. Creating short stories in elementary school and following various writing prompts never failed to brighten my day, and I looked forward to my English classes at school for this reason. Eventually, my love for writing turned into a love for reading, an I finally understood how a story can change the way we think about the world and everyone in it. However, once I got to high school English classes changed from exciting writing prompts and storytelling to reading classics and taking tests. Although I now have an immense appreciation and admiration for classic literature, I can’t say my fourteen-year-old self felt the same way. I started to get distracted by my high school course load, and I stopped spending my free time writing the things I wanted to write. For me, high school consisted of a multitude of tests, papers, and stress. And, without the opportunity to write creatively in my classes, I stopped altogether.
Art provides such an important outlet for us during times of heavy emotions, whether positive or negative. I think giving young students an opportunity to express themselves through writing can really change the way they navigate their everyday lives as high school students. Both writing and reading prove overlooked by so many high school students simply because they haven’t had opportunities to write and read the stories that they’re interested in. Forming a love for words and the way they flow together within a story can help expand a young student’s creative mind entirely, and may introduce them to a side of academia they’ve otherwise ignored thus far.
College was when my love for creative writing truly blossomed again. I started reading more of what I wanted to read, and finally felt inspired to write again. I’m currently enrolled in my third level of the Fiction Writing Workshop offered here at Duquesne, and I feel like I’ve learned so much more about the craft of writing than I ever learned during high school. Writing can be a tumultuous, frustrating process, but completing a story you’re proud of and that means something to you elicits a feeling like no other. I’m so happy to have fallen in love with writing again, and I’m excited to help promote Duquesne’s Summer Creative Writing Camp so other young students can do the same.