Living in Flagstaff has certainly changed the way that I write and the way that I see myself—both now, and where I want to be in the future. While Northern Arizona University has many excellent programs, the English Department is one of the most precious gems, in my humble opinion.
Just in case the title didn’t make it perfectly clear, being an English student does not mean that I want to go into the education field. While I love the thought of teaching, the university, and all the wonderful professors who have taught me, I have slowly learned my English degree can go much further than the small road of education.
Flagstaff offers so much more to a lover of literature, rhetoric, and creative writing than meets the eye. If there’s not a reading going on, then there’s a lecture happening somewhere. Classroom visits, a lit magazine to submit to. Just because I love English doesn’t mean that my only career path involves becoming a part of a system that hasn’t really done that much for me in the first place. While there is, of course, always that option, I think that there is more to be said about the writing workshops, the capstones offered in creative writing, the internship opportunities.
Coming from someone who has basically spent her whole life thinking about how when she grew up she was going to be like Flannery O’Connor or Kurt Vonnegut, the idea of settling for anything less, especially now, is a real downer. People should stop paying attention to the fantasy of becoming a successful writer and start looking at the world around them, because we exist. Those very few who still cling to the hope that one day, someone will sit down and read something that they wrote, even if it’s for a moment.
Flagstaff has restored my faith in the concept, the hope, and the dying dream, that one day, instead of writing a lesson plan, I could have my own work talked about and discussed in the classes just like the ones I am taking now. Not only is the environment and the community here stronger than any other small college town I’ve ever been too, but there is chance after chance to keep allowing yourself to grow and learn as a writer.