July 6, 2013

Summer Creativity

We’re about halfway through summer, and I’m a month into my job as a Senior Interviewer for Lafayette’s Office of Admissions. Every morning I meet with high school students about to start their senior year and discuss their activities, classes, and interests in high school, as well as their questions regarding Lafayette.

The pillars in front of Markle Hall, where Lafayette College's Admissions Office is locatedThese students are incredibly impressive—involved in academic clubs, the arts, sports teams, summer research programs, and volunteer organizations. It is incredible to talk with them about their interests and activities and to hear such interesting stories from such talented high schoolers. It makes me proud to be at a school where these students are looking to continue pursuing their interests, and to know that for many of these students, the opportunities here would allow them to do so. (I’ll also add that with each day I am a little more relieved that I was not aware of my fellow applicants when I was applying to college–it was daunting enough, without knowing my competition.)

I’ve found this job to be helpful, too, particularly when it comes to my writing. As a member of the Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship at Lafayette, I try to keep on track of my creative writing during the school year. Logo for Lafayette's Creative and Performing Arts FellowshipFor the past ten years, thinking about writing and characters has been the default setting of my brain, but college makes it difficult at times to keep up with it. Since studying abroad and the stress (mostly good) of returning to campus in the spring, I have done very little writing, although I did brainstorm for new projects off and on. Still, it has been strange to feel so disconnected from a part of my life that has always been so much my definition of myself.

I’ve found that my job as a Senior Interviewer has retuned my brain into this way of thinking. Not only do I spend my day talking to new individuals with new personalities and stories, but I also am required to write up the interview in a report that will go in the applicants’ files. Because I don’t want to simply write out their resume again, I’ve found that I write the write-ups like character sketches, trying to find the themes and the arcs that tie each story, passion, and personality trait into a coherent sketch of an individual that will help the directors glimpse the person I was able to meet.

Although these individuals are obviously not my characters and the write-ups do not, therefore, require the creativity I use to sketch them, there is something about the process of piecing together a whole from parts that is familiar to me from my writing process. And pretty much anything that reminds me of writing, or, in this case, is some version of it, is great in my book (pun?) For the first time in some months, my mind finds itself drifting automatically back to my characters. And that place, almost as much as the house where my family lives, is home to me.

posted in Madeline Gambino

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