Find Your Voice: Mara McCloy
Welcome to Find Your Voice, a series profiling English students and the stories they have to tell.
“I like the days I can process my thoughts into a story. I feel accomplished on those days.” Mara McCloy’s thoughts run through her mind like a chaotic poem in its first draft. At the end of each day, you can find her journaling on her front porch. “I just spill all my thoughts onto paper and sometimes it’s not grammatically correct, sometimes it’s a total mess,” laughed McCloy. Depending on what kind of day she’s had, the thoughts might come out as a story, poem, or just nonsense – but they always find a way onto the page.
McCloy, a sophomore from Lexington, South Carolina, recently declared her major in English after realizing that Communication was the wrong choice for her. “I realized after I took my first comm class that I just wanted to write creatively,” she said. She devours writing in all its forms, including journalism and novels. Her favorite book is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (although The Half Blood Prince is a close second). When approaching fiction, McCloy believes that a work should both entertain and instruct – but not always the same way. “Reading fiction is different for every person,” she explained. “Every person can get something different of a book, depending on what they’ve been through in their lives. I might learn a lot of lessons from Harry Potter that someone else doesn’t get, or that I wouldn’t get if I read it at a different time in my life.”
McCloy is only two classes into the major, but so far she has loved 201: British Literature to 1800. “I like reading old words and making them make sense in today’s terms.” Her creative thinking manifests in an intense love for literature and science, two areas that English majors traditionally see as incompatible. She has a love for astronomy and physics, subjects that she sees as tools for understanding the world around her. Calculating vast distances across space, McCloy feels like she is “discovering something new about our world.”
Where does McCloy see herself after graduation? The possibilities are wide. “I like editing, a lot. I could see myself doing that,” she said. “I could also see myself doing freelance journalism or working in publishing.” The scientific community also beckons, through the field of technical writing. McCloy aspires to write in a way that helps the average reader understand scientific concepts. “Regular people who aren’t astrophysicists from MIT need to be able to understand what you’re talking about.”
Wherever she lands after walking across the Cistern, McCloy is sure to use her gift for words to bring together disparate subjects and experiences in a way that can enlighten us all.