Major Spotlight: Lauren Swee

This English peer counselor writes to be a better reader and vice versa
Photo of English major Lauren Swee in winter landscape

Year: Graduating spring 2020!
Hometown: Waconia, MN

Why did you choose to major in English?

To be honest, I was not that wise nor well-calculated when I declared the major as a freshman. The most I can say is that I knew I loved writing and reading and group discussion. The reason I stayed, however, was because I genuinely believe engaging with stories makes us better people. Studying stories to me is very much the study of decisions. Why didn't Hamlet just hurry up and kill Claudius? Why did Gatsby want to buy a big ol' mansion? And why, for goodness sake, would Bella fall in love with a vampire? We live in a very divisive time, and understanding the choices that others make, even the ones you disagree with, is vital. It's the first step towards healing.

"Studying stories to me
is very much the study
of decisions. Why didn't
Hamlet just hurry up
and kill Claudius?"

What has been your favorite part of your experience in the department?

There are professors in this department with absolutely contagious passion. It's not rare for me to go home and regurgitate an entire lecture on Beowulf or Shakespeare or Morrison to my roommates and spend three more hours talking with them about it!

Are you pursuing any majors, minors, internships, or interests outside your English major?

I'm pursuing a minor in Creative Writing. I've also been a peer counselor for the English advising office this year. As for my interests, I love spending time with friends and family, coloring in my (adult) coloring books, listening to podcasts, canoeing, camping, playing trombone, playing volleyball, and watching Twilight. The great thing about creative writing is that all of these things are fodder for stories!

What English course would you recommend?

Take a workshop class. Even if you aren't a Creative Writing Minor, workshops are a unique experience you really can't get in any other type of class. They say that reading makes you a better writer, but I also believe the reverse is true. Studying storytelling from the side of the creator completely changes the way you view the craft.

Best book or movie you've read/seen recently?

If you haven't watched Parasite yet, go do that. It lives up to the hype!

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