Senior Reflects on Ramapo’s Literature Program

As I look ahead into the next few weeks, I am overwhelmed by the realization that my time at Ramapo is coming to a close. I’ve been looking back on these last four years, creating a highlight reel for myself. I see flashes of late night adventures across campus with friends, the hype of frat parties and Tuesday nights at New Rock, writing papers and catching up with girlfriends at the Starbucks on Route 202, the stress that was registering for classes, the excitement of moving home for summer and moving back for the fall. I had never been one to stray away from home. Before college, I had never even been to sleep away camp. Though now I dream of big cities and traveling the world, I was convinced in high school that nothing could get better than the comfort of my own backyard. I was wrong. Home will always be where my heart is, but a part of that heart now belongs to Ramapo.

Any large duration of time spent in an environment will change you and help mold you. This is due to both the atmosphere of the environment and the people surrounding you. Ramapo has become another branch of family to me, not just including the friends that I’ve made, but also the literature faculty I have had the privilege to work with.

Searching through lists of college choices during my junior year of high school overwhelmed me, all I knew was that I wanted to focus on literature. Only now do I realize just how lucky I had gotten picking Ramapo out of the pile. Literature requires a certain kind of passion. What we learn does not follow a formula, and nine out of 10 times, there is no right or wrong answer. We are taught to be free thinkers, to take a text and read it for what it is, read it for what it could be, read it for what it means to us at different crossroads of our lives.

Six out of my eight semesters here started off with a morning class taught by Dr. Patricia Ard. By the time junior year rolled around, her classes felt like home to me, welcoming me back to Ramapo with a smile. It was in Professor James Hoch’s seminars that my passion for writing thrived and was crafted, and it was Dr. Todd Barnes who proved to me that yes, literature majors had to study too, and just because you knew how to write did not mean you knew anything about the meaning of language.

Not only do the faculty go above and beyond in the classroom, but they work hard to make special events happen for their students. I sat in on speakers such as Joyce Carol Oates, Nick Flynn, Marie Howe and multiple readings by students and faculty. The Ramapo literature community comes together to appreciate the work of published authors and poets, but also to support its own aspiring writers as well.

I came to Ramapo with an interest in literature, but because of the knowledge I had gained from these professors, I will leave with an appreciation and passion for literature and the English language that is my native tongue. Taking with me a new-found love for all things literature, I will leave with memories of all things Ramapo and the second home it had created for me.

Farewell, Ramapo, and thank you.