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I am Smith

Cassandra Leone

Oakland, California
English language and literature major; studio art minor; book studies concentration

 

After a series of personal traumas, I spent most of my 20s self-destructing. Through all the bad times, I kept reading and writing. It took a near-death experience to shock me into sobriety and begin to imagine a future for myself. I was enrolled at Berkeley City College and loved it. I immersed myself in the local literary community. My work was published in The Milvia Street Journal, and I self-published two chapbooks.

In a U.S. women’s history course, I learned that many influential women such as Gloria Steinem ’56 had gone to Smith College. I decided to apply. I wanted to be the kind of woman who makes a difference in the world, too.

“Smith exposes me to new ideas and people, while taking classes with brilliant and inspiring women.”

English was a natural choice as a major, but until I took a typography class with artist Barry Moser my second semester, I hadn’t imagined being able to connect literature with my interest in visual art. The book concentration is a perfect fit for me. I love being able to print my own writing and drawing in a way that preserves a traditional craft. After grad school, I’m hoping to pursue a career in publishing or possibly writing or in academe.

So much of my coursework overlaps. I’m learning about the history of reading and writing in one class, while reading Milton, Shakespeare and Donne in another, and studying translations of the Fourth-century Bible in my Gothic language course. That kind of synchronicity really deepens my studies.

I’ll be taking a poetry workshop at Hampshire College next semester. The Five College Consortium is a real plus because if there are specialty classes you want to take, it’s easy to find a class on another campus to fit your needs.

I feel safe at Smith. I feel open and confident. Smith challenges me to do more than I thought I could. It gives me not just access to learning and thought, but teaches me how to learn and think. It exposes me to new ideas and people, while taking classes with brilliant and inspiring women.