Jessalyn Johnson is a senior at Grand Canyon University, completing the final year of her BA in English Literature. Originally from Melbourne, FL, Jessalyn has come to enjoy living in the desert of Arizona. Since freshman year she has occupied several different positions on the editorial board of GCU’s literary review, StartleBloom, which is approaching its third volume. In her free time, Jessalyn enjoys creative writing, photography, writing music and participating in the plays and musicals put on by GCU’s Ethington Theatre.
Last year, I began my journey as an English literature student at Grand Canyon University. As a writer, I was interested in studying all of the great poets and novelists who came before me. The only thing I knew to expect was a lot of reading – and that I did.
Though I still have a ways to go before I complete my degree, I have learned many valuable things about literature, and hope to put this towards my writing as I transition into GCU’s new degree: English with an emphasis in professional writing.
The biggest question I get when I tell people my major is, “Do you want to be a teacher?” While my interest in writing and literature will more than likely not lead me to a job in education, this is certainly an option with this degree. Many people also ask, “Why English?” Well, what better reason besides having a passion for contributing to the world of literature and the arts?
In the English courses I have taken so far, we have delved into the fictional worlds that have shaped and influenced the arts of today. From Thomas More’s “Utopia” to the sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay, the history of literature provides direction for the future of the written word. In upcoming courses, I can look forward to reading the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and Langston Hughes.
For those with a passion for writing, this program has new courses ranging from creative writing to technical writing, while still including the literature courses that bring you back to where it all began. Some students may choose to take an additional three courses to add a minor in literature and broaden their resume. As I continue into this new program, I look forward to taking on new tasks and challenges that will help me on the road to my career.
StartleBloom: The GCU Literary Review
Within the first few weeks of my freshman year, I discovered the introduction of a literary review to the university, which immediately excited me. I soon became the only freshman on the editorial board, surrounded by a kind group of graduating seniors and several wonderful English professors.
Throughout the year, we worked hard to create a literary review that is now known as StartleBloom, and I have had the chance to have one of my own short stories published in it. This upcoming year, I will proudly serve as the editor-in-chief, and I have the English program to thank for giving me such an incredible opportunity.
A Future in English and Writing
Upon graduation, I plan to have obtained the skills needed to succeed as a writer, no matter where I go. Whether it be in journalism, fiction, editing or publishing, I will take my newly obtained knowledge and skills with me wherever I go, in hopes that I may do something that leaves a note on the score of literature. In the end, I will have my time in this program to appreciate for my success.
Grand Canyon University offers many programs within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. To learn more about the degrees offered through CHSS, visit our website or request more information using the button at the top of the page.