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Remy Barnwell

Coming into Clemson, I was accepted as a pre-professional health studies major; my parents wanted me to go to medical school, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that it wasn’t for me. On the day of my Clemson orientation, I found a booth in the Hendrix center, changed my major to English, and there is not a single second that I have regretted it. My first experiences with majors only English classes were the second semester of my freshman year when I took World Literature and the Structure of Screenplay. I left that semester not able to figure out which one I loved more, but it was the freedom of creative writing that left the largest impression on me. During my sophomore year, I took Critical Writing About Literature (ENGL 3100) and before that class I could tell you that I loved poetry, but after that class I could tell you why. I realized that you could write an entire story, evoke a particular emotion, pluck a heartstring, experience a relieving catharsis all through poetry and word choice. While I knew that I loved poetry then, I strayed away from it for a bit to take a class that I was sure had to be mistyped: African American Literature Before 1920. I thought that no such thing existed, outside of the writings of Frederick Douglass, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is in that class that I truly fell in love with literature and in love with the fact that there is so much about literature, even in the Americas, that I simply don’t know. (If you haven’t read Black No More, order it on Amazon now.) That class awakened my interest in literature, and my interest in social justice— a word that I couldn’t have verbalized or defined during my freshman year. During my last two years at Clemson, I got to explore my passions further. I was able to take classes in Cultural Studies and a Senior Seminar in African American Autobiography and Biography in addition to taking an introductory workshop to poetry before taking the more advanced workshop. I took a course in Literature of the Middle East and North Africa, another facet of literature that I wasn’t aware had so much breadth. I didn’t believe in the Clemson family, and it is still a term that makes me weary, however, the Clemson English Department has made itself a home to me— which in my opinion, is greater than a family. You can’t choose your family, but you also can’t deny that in the idea of a home there is safety, belonging, mutual respect, comfort, freedom and so much more. The Clemson English Department provided me all of that and so much more.

remy-barnwell

Remy Barnwell