On October 12, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Maria Sanchez, from Professor
Terry Weseloh’s GEW class, for the October edition of the GEW Student Highlight.
SW: Maria, tell me about yourself.
MS: I am a freshman. I am not local. I am from Orange County. I like to read. I am a dancer, so I am really into the arts.
SW: What do you like to read?
MS: I like to read nonfiction mostly. I used to read books about the world wars.
SW: So history books?
MS: Yeah, but also autobiographies and fiction. I guess it is just whatever books interest me.
SW: So you are what might be called an eclectic reader. Do you have any favorites?
MS: It’s not non-fiction but it is called The Fault in Our Stars. It was a really good book. It is better than the movie.
SW: What did you like about the book?
MS: I liked how real it was, I guess you can say. Because through the book he portrayed what cancer really is and how a young girl dealt with it. He didn’t try to cover it with nice stuff. It was really raw.
SW: What was it about being raw and not being nice that draws you in?
MS: I think that a lot of time things like Disney movies want every thing to seem perfect but the world isn’t perfect and so when someone tries to show things that aren’t perfect and make people feel uncomfortable and make some people cry, I just think that is beautiful. It opens your eyes to the idea that not everything needs to be perfect, not even in a book.
SW: Well said. So you’re a dancer?
MS: Yeah. (smiles) I was a dancer for four years, through my whole high school career. I started dancing in high school. Not really a ballet dancer, but a performer. I noticed that a lot of people don’t appreciate art as much as they used to, I feel, because of technology. Being a dancer made me learn to appreciate art.
SW: What kind of art do you appreciate?
MS: Plays, obviously dance, and painting. It just takes so much time and so many people don’t see it. I know what it means to work really hard and people don’t notice that. I would much rather go out and see the play or the art than to just stay home and be on my phone.
SW: So how does all of this appreciation for art affect your GEW class?
MS: (smiles) So my professor asks us to analyze pictures. She made us analyze an ad and she makes us analyze texts, and I feel like all the art opened up my creativity and made it easier for me to look into things like that. It makes you see what others can’t see. I can’t really explain it.
SW: Because you have been the artist before so now, when you look at a piece of art, you can see the work that has gone into it, where someone who has never been an artist before can’t see that work?
MS: Yeah. And I think literature is like art. Not anyone can just write. It is a given, and that is the cool thing. You can interpret literature many different ways. You read it one year, then you can read it the next year and you get something new of that book that you didn’t get before.
SW: Do you feel like you have any advice for GEW students?
MS: I would say to always think about the not-so-obvious. The answer is not always going to be in black and white. You have to look deeper, and if the answer makes sense, it is probably right. And it is okay to be wrong. I feel like a lot of students think is isn’t okay to be wrong, but it is. It is perfectly fine. And it is okay to question yourself too.
SW: What do you mean about questioning yourself.
MS: It is okay to have a little bit of doubt. I am not gonna be one hundred percent right all the time, but that is how we learn. That is how I learn anyway. If I am wrong about something, I just think more about it, and say it, and it just sticks with me.
SW: Well, Maria Sanchez, you have quite a bit of wisdom to share with your peers. And I couldn’t agree more that literature is art. Thank you for your time today.
MS: Thank you so much. It was wonderful!