- Submitted photo
Katelyn Risch has known she wanted to write from a very young age. So she was thrilled to get the chance to study creative writing at Carthage.
“Practicing different techniques of writing is just exciting, sometimes childlike, experimentation, with unrestricted creativity,” she said. “There’s so much freedom within creative writing, and I feel like there’s so much untapped potential in everybody’s creative processes.”
Katelyn has been featured in Carthage’s creative arts magazine Centrique and writes for The Current. One of her essays even won her a scholarship for the English Department’s annual trip to Stratford, Canada, for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
“It’s all so fun and exciting for me, and it makes me look forward to future opportunities for my writing,” she said.
“I hope to publish my own original writing, both fiction and poetry, after graduation. Until that happens, I think I would also enjoy working for a publishing house or writing for a newspaper or magazine.”
“Professor Rick Meier taught Creative Writing Studio, which I took for my freshman year J-Term. The methods he used to guide the class impacted me because they opened me up to new ways of channeling creativity. I felt like I had more options in terms of what I could produce and turn in because I didn’t have to adhere to a particular format. I ended up with a product that, at Rick’s encouragement, I entered into the Juried Student Art Show. It was accepted, which was an amazing experience for me.”
“I have three: My freshman J-Term Creative Writing Studio class, American Literary Traditions, and Twentieth Century U.S. History. In all three classes, there was just a general air of acceptance, like we could say or contribute whatever we wanted. The subjects have always interested me anyway, but the style of the lessons helped me with participation. I’ve always been on the shy side, which is probably why I express myself through writing, but I didn’t have my normal hesitation with discussions in these classes.”
“I would say probably my Western Heritage classes. The material was interesting, but I tended to stress out a bit more about what I was contributing to discussions than I did with my other classes. I don’t know what made these different, but I just didn’t feel quite so secure about throwing my thoughts out there.”
Opportunities at Carthage
“At the end of this month, I’ll be going on the Stratford Shakespeare Festival trip. Toward the end of last year, I submitted an essay and received a partial scholarship to apply to the trip, which was really helpful and exciting. Three of my poems were also published in last year’s edition of Centrique, the creative arts magazine. It’s all so fun and exciting for me, and it makes me look forward to future opportunities for my writing.”
“I write for The Current (the student newspaper), I go to InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and although I’m not on staff for it, I plan to submit some of my writing to this year’s edition of Centrique as well. There are also a few other organizations that I’m hoping to become part of, now that I’m starting a new year.”
Favorite moments at Carthage
“Some of my favorite memories are from spending time with my friends – walking down to the beach, hanging out in the Union until way too late at night, watching movies. Sometimes it’s the quieter moments like these that I remember best.”
Biggest surprise so far?
“My biggest surprise came last year, my freshman year, when the adjustment to college life was nowhere near as difficult as I expected it to be. I missed my family and friends from home, but at the same time, I loved being here, and that was not something I expected to happen right away.”
What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?
“My 8-year-old self would not be surprised in the least, because I’ve wanted to write for a living since I was 5 or 6. Stories have always fascinated me, and I always knew I wanted to be involved in them somehow.”
Advice for other students considering your major
“I would say that if you love writing and it is what you truly want to do, make an effort to do it. Money is always a concern in one way or another, but I really think you’ll regret it if you don’t at least try to do what you love. Even if you can’t make a living off of it, please keep it as a part of your life.”