The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



On becoming my whole self

| Friday, March 18, 2022

Last year, I was checking in with one of my advisors about how close I was to completing my English literature major. 

Looking through my graduation requirements, my advisor saw I would finish my English and education majors in time for me to student teach full-time next spring — and even have extra room to play with in my schedule. And of course, being the nosy person I am, I asked if I could add a creative writing major to my workload.

During my summer advising before I arrived at Saint Mary’s, I was told I would have to choose between the College’s English literature and creative writing majors if I also wanted to pursue a degree in education and graduate with both in four years. With my foot barely in the door, I made the tough decision to look more “professional“ to future principals and major in English literature.

Disclaimer: This is not to say that I’m disappointed in little first-year Genevieve. 

Through studying English literature,  I have taken so many amazing classes that have shown me how to be a more socially conscious reader, well-aware writer and deeply critical thinker. Without the professors who believed in my writing, the support of my fellow English majors and the love of my friends, I would not be one of The Observer’s assistant managing editors today. 

But I’ve been wanting more for a while. I’ve been wanting to find the creative voice I once had in high school — that was loud enough for my senior superlative to be “most likely to publish a novel.”  I’ve been wanting to have an excuse to write poetry in addition to literary theory essays. 

I’ve been wanting room to be my whole self — and living through a pandemic has taught me I deserve that.

So when I asked my advisor if I could realistically add on creative writing as a (triple) major, I will never forget the care she took in consulting with the English department to make that happen for me.

Currently with my three creative writing and two literature courses, in addition to my education class, I’m deeply entrenched in literature and creative writing. Somehow, despite the variety in my classes, all of my writing workshops happen to be on the same schedule, so many of my weeks are spent turning in submissions and reading other writers’ work.

A second disclaimer: While I wouldn’t say this gives me a lot of extra time, outside of the paper and my friends, at least I know I’m not taking my time for granted. 

I am acutely aware my time at Saint Mary’s is drawing near. I have had many existential crises about entering the real world in just over a year. Time is fleeting and the days stop for no one, not even me. 

But now I can recognize the moments where time slows for me: working late nights at The Observer, or writing poetry, or discussing a book in class or interacting with my students. All of these things I devote myself to make up for those waning years.

So I’m off, on the way to becoming my whole self — and I’m glad you’re along for the ride. 

Tags: , , ,

About Genevieve Coleman

Genevieve Coleman is a junior at Saint Mary's majoring in English literature, creative writing and secondary education with a minor in theatre. She currently serves as an Assistant Managing Editor.

Contact Genevieve