A Conversation With Emily Orenstein '13
Emily Orenstein '13, an English major from Riverside, Conn., breezes into the room relaxed and ready to enjoy senior week and to talk about the thrill of seeing her article published in USA Today.
Your mother is a Colby-Sawyer alumna, how did that connection influence your college search?
My mom was in the class of '74. During my college search she tried hard not to influence my decision. We did grand tour of New England colleges and then came to Colby-Sawyer for an alumni event. While she did that, I went on a campus tour and felt a real connection. I went to a big high school where I felt like a number, but Colby-Sawyer just felt welcoming, and it's pretty. It immediately felt like a family. It was nice to be able to pick the school for myself, though.
Your essay, “The Respectful Roommate's Handbook,” was published. How did that come about?
I took a creative writing course every semester and really liked the professors. They took a real interest and helped me think about what I wanted to write. [Assistant Professor of Humanities] Michael Jauchen is one of my favorites, and so is [retired faculty] David Elliott. I had David for a course exploring memoir and personal essays, and the Handbook essay grew out of an assignment. He encouraged me to send a shortened version to USA Today, where it was picked up and published on the college section of its website.
Where did you get the idea for the piece?
We're influenced by those around us, and at college we live closest to our roommates. Freshman year I lived with someone who ended up becoming a good friend, and then we lived with other people, so it was interesting to compare notes about our different experiences.
What was it like to have your writing published, and what do you see yourself doing next?
It was really cool! I'd pretend I didn't think it was a big deal, but it was really great to be acknowledged and to have professors mention it.
As for what's next, well. I did my internship at the UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center in Goffstown, N.H., and I was able to incorporate writing with my work there to help create a book of activities to do with the kids. I enjoyed having that hands-on experience working with children with special needs it was great to work all day with people, reflect on our interactions and then write about it. I'm open to anything right now, but I hope I'll be able to combine working with people and writing.
Read Emily's piece at www.CSCM.ag/respectful-roommates.