English with an emphasis in Creative Writing
Maeve McFadden, ’12, is the first to admit that she was teased as a child because of her love of reading. But that didn’t keep her from pursuing her passion.
When she first visited Carthage, Maeve was enamored by the view of Lake Michigan and the sand volleyball courts found on campus. She participated in the Lincoln Scholarship Competition and decided to take the plunge.
“I’ve had so many amazing opportunities just by virtue of being a Carthage student,” Maeve said. “Carthage sent me some mail, so I discussed it with family members who know the area well. I had it on pretty good authority that this was a good place for me. Plus, it was just far enough away from home to give me that feeling of a new adventure.”
And adventure is what Maeve has found. Whether it be an interesting and thought-provoking assignment, or a trip to Germany for J-Term, Maeve has made the most out of every opportunity that she has found at Carthage.
In her classes Maeve has been intrigued and excited about her assignments. She has made an online classroom for her education courses and has taught lesson to high school classes.
“I’ve learned a lot simply from talking with professors outside of class and have had the opportunity to do really interesting assignments, like an examination of Chaucer’s wife of Bath, research papers on kung fu, tea as holistic medicine, and Einstein’s theory of relativity applied to Kerouac’s On the Road,” she explained.
She has also gone to Chicago and Milwaukee for plays and trips to the IMAX Theater. Through her involvement in The Current, the student-run Carthage newspaper, she has gone to the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention the last two years.
“The English Department gets me. It’s fun but challenging, and it really feels like a community,” said Maeve. “Professors want to hear what students have to say and students want to participate, so we end up having really enlightening and entertaining classes. Professors will push you to delve deeper and deeper into a text until your mind is blown at the level of sophisticated analysis you’ve just reached.”
Maeve’s future goals are broad. She hopes to someday travel to Mount Parnassus in Greece. She would also like to eventually become fluent in French, which she originally minored in but dropped in order to add an emphasis in creative writing to her major.
“I’d really like to see more of the world and be able to leave some kind of mark on it,” she said. “I’d like to be published. I want to be able to put a ‘Dr.’ in front of my name, especially if it’s for reading books.”
“Professors want to hear what students have to say and students want to participate, so we end up having really enlightening and entertaining classes.”
“To be an English teacher/professor, or a traveling journalist, or anything that has to do with books, reading or writing.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“I’ve had a lot of amazing professors, but my classes with Maria Carrig have really inspired me and helped me grow. She really knows her stuff, and demands a lot of her students, but she manages to keep all her classes enjoyable and goes out of her way to help students rise to the standard and fulfill their potential. And, she brings us kringle. She’s kind of my idol.”
“Though I’ve really loved all of my English classes, my favorite was Creative Writing with Caryl Pagel. In another stunningly impulsive move, I dropped my French minor a few classes away from completion to take up the creative writing emphasis with my major. I was really nervous because, though I had written poetry since grade school, I hadn’t shared it with many people, and I was afraid I had made a brash mistake. It was a night class, but I always looked forward to it and was never bored. We learned about really cool, often more modern and nontraditional creative writing, and I feel like my own writing and my understanding of my writing really improved.”
“I am certified as a master level tutor through the College Reading and Learning Associate through working in Carthage’s Writing Center. I also work for The Current, Carthage’s student-run newspaper as a copy editor and reporter/writer. I’m Treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honorary fraternity. In past years I have been an Applied Math SI, member of the International Friendship Society, Pals and Partners, Student WEA, Carthage Allies, and Martial Arts Club.”
“My French classes were my hardest. I really like French, and I want to become fluent in it, but it doesn’t seem to be a natural strength of mine. I never spoke it during my classes in high school and so my listening and speaking skills were quite severely lacking. I would always dread French class because I felt so embarrassingly behind, but I still almost always enjoyed myself during class. It was more completing the work outside of class and trying to prepare for class that proved immensely stressful.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“I have amazing friends here, and I really can’t count how many favorite moments I’ve had with them. Last year we had some great old video game system and knitting parties in our triple. I’ve had a lot of great moments at Carthage in my professional life as well, like getting hired as a Writing Center Fellow, but in November I taught my first real high school English lesson and I instantly knew that I had picked the right career, that it was not all for naught. Also, I was paid $5 to kiss Seth Meyers on the cheek when he did a comedy show here two years ago.”
Favorite spot on campus
“My bed, though I don’t get to go there as much as I’d like. But also any area in the back of Lentz Hall where you can see the lake. I can sit and watch the lake for hours, especially in winter when it’s particularly angry-looking and I’d rather not go outside in the cold to get lost in thought watching it. The little couch areas are great places to sit and center yourself between classes and meetings and errands, and that view is the only thing that can make sitting in a small classroom or office after dragging yourself out of bed refreshing.”
Biggest surprise so far
“How well I’ve been accepted and supported at Carthage. I came here knowing absolutely no one, and now I slip up and say ‘I’m going home’ when coming back from break, because this is my home.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“Find whatever part of literature and language you are passionate about and pursue it relentlessly. Experiment, join everything, and be impulsive when it comes to hard decisions. Acknowledge your weaknesses, but also your strengths, and use them. Always keep trying to improve yourself, but take the time to relish what you have accomplished and experienced before moving on to the next goal and never lose sight of what makes you, you. Remember “… that the utmost reward/Of daring should be still to dare.’ (Robert Frost, “The Trial by Existence”) Oh, and learn to decipher professor handwriting.”