Jacqueline De Jong

Anticipated graduation year: 2012

Majors: Literature; Writing

Hometown: Wenatchee, Wash.

Whitworth activities/clubs: Working at the Whitworth Writing Center

Favorite book: Jane Austen's six canonical novels

Favorite music: Owl City!

Favorite quote: "I am not afraid; I was born to do this." –- Joan of Arc

Favorite professor: Dr. Pamela Corpron Parker in the English department. She has been incredibly sensitive to my dreams and aspirations since my freshman year, and she's given me special opportunities to study that I never dreamed I would have in college. She pushes you to do your best, but she's also very kind and helpful. Not to mention, she teaches some of the greatest classes (British Women Writers—take it!).

Favorite residence hall: Represent for EAST! It's the newest dorm, so it's got great things like an open staircase, big windows, and super-comfy beds.

I like my major because... being a literature major means that it is your responsibility to spend lots of money on great novels, sit on your super-comfy bed in East to reading said novels, and discuss these novels with intelligent professors and students. It simply does not get any better than that.

Research/special projects I'm involved in: My mentor (Dr. Parker) is in the process of writing a book, and she has kindly allowed me to be her research assistant. This has allowed me to study British women writers (my FAVORITE), and in January 2011, I will get to travel with Dr. Parker to do some archival work as we study Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I'm thrilled.

Advice for incoming students: I'm sure lots of people say this, but still...get to know your professors. Seriously! They are such incredible people, and they really want to know you better—just take that first step and ask them out to coffee. As an insecure, 17-year-old freshman with big dreams and without a clue as to what to do with them, I asked one of my professors out to coffee. Our chat over coffee lasted for almost two hours and was the start of a close friendship. Not only are the professors wonderful people, but they can also help you accomplish your dreams. Good things come to those who awkwardly ask professors out to coffee. The other important thing is to study what you are passionate about. I know that with the recent economic crisis, it can be tempting to go into a field that will allow you to make a good income and have a solid career, regardless of whether you like it. While these practical questions are good to consider, take these four years to study what you really love. It will ultimately be more rewarding, and I think you'll be amazed at the blessings that come your way when you do what you were born to do.

What I plan to do after graduation: I'm considering a Ph.D. program, but nothing is set in stone. I'm tossing around ideas of being a literature professor at a university, or working at a nonprofit, or going into the publishing industry...or maybe something completely different that I haven't dreamed up yet. I do know, however, that even if I never publish a word, I will keep writing. I love it. And of course I'll keep reading...even after I graduate, I guarantee that I'll find a way to justify spending exorbitant amounts of money on novels.