Undergraduate Visiting Student Madeline Morris was drawn from the University of Virginia to Columbia University during Columbia Summer 2017 for the Arts in the Summer program.
What initially brought you to Columbia and why did you choose to enroll in Arts in Summer?
During my senior year at the University of Virginia, where I am working toward a biomedical engineering degree, I went through a sort of crisis. After spending a semester applying for jobs I didn’t want with little to no success, I decided to take some time to think about what activities made me the happiest and to try and look there for a sense of professional fulfillment. I decided to take the plunge and pursue a career in writing and entertainment. The Columbia Arts in the Summer program seemed like the perfect way to meet people and bolster skills I didn’t necessarily get during my undergraduate career.
Arts in the Summer at Columbia has been part of my transition into turning my passions into a career.
What classes did you take and why do you think the skills learned in these classes have been beneficial?
I took How to Write Funny with Patricia Marx and Creative Nonfiction with Anelise Chen. As someone who has never formally studied creative writing, it’s been endlessly helpful to learn about humor and compelling storytelling in an academic context. Because both of my classes were workshop based, I also had the opportunity to share with and hear from my classmates, while receiving and providing constructive criticism from my professors and my peers. Also, both classes were an amazing means of meeting new people that I might have otherwise never encountered. I have classmates from China and Denmark, and multiple classmates are U.S. vets who have spent time in Afghanistan. It’s been enjoyable and eye-opening to meet these people.
What are you hoping to do with your experience?
This fall I’m starting as an intern at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which I’m thrilled about. I’m hoping to enter the workforce with a new confidence in my writing and better habits in regards to writing more often. I think the skills I’ve learned in my classes will be helpful in both of these endeavors. Not only have I spent the summer honing my writing, but I’ve met a lot of other creative professionals and will hopefully start my internship feeling comfortable in a creative environment!