Marisa Williams (she/they) graduated from BSU with a Bachelor’s in English and a minor in religious studies. They now study horror and trauma in post-colonial literature at Oregon State University. Their studies is expanding into folklore, horror, and Caribbean literature in the 21st century. They also run a “bookstagram” account in their (limited) spare time, which you can find at @late_nite_reads.

What made you want to study English Literature?

I wanted to study English Literature because like every literature student I love books. But, I chose to study Literature, because growing up as a lover of books I heard so many people share their distaste for reading so I made a vow to myself (in high school, I think) to teach people the love of books that I have. So, my ultimate goal when I started studying English was to teach everyone how great books are.

What is your advice to fellow English students?

I hope this advice reaches to more than just English students but, my advice is that your health is more important than your classes. Which means, the paper, reading, whatever, can wait.

What was the hardest part of life after graduating?

The hardest part of post-graduate life is figuring out if I want to get my PHD degree or not. Graduate school is very difficult but very rewarding so at the moment I’m currently weighing the pros and cons of continuing my education.

What are the most valuable skills you learned during your English program at Ball State?

The most valuable skill I learned during my time at Ball State was communication. Ask for help from your peers and faculty at BSU. I honestly wouldn’t have made it this far without the help of notable faculty in the English Department.

Why did you decide to further your education and go to grad school?

I decided to go to grad school to become a professor. I knew I wanted to teach English by the time I was in high school but as time passed, I realized I wanted to do more than teach, I also wanted to write and research. So, grad school has helped me toward my goal of research as well.

What is the most engaging part of your graduate program?

The most engaging part of my program is the teaching. I teach intro to writing and it takes up so much of my time. But it is so rewarding at the end of the term.

For required readings you had during your undergrad studies, and now in your graduate program, what texts or books were your favorite? Why?

I often find myself returning to American literature texts since beginning grad school. Those texts are Beloved by Toni Morrison and The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Since my focus is post-colonial literature, horror, and trauma these books are always on my mind. My graduate studies have been a lot of theory reading and so far nothing has stood out. But I think my thesis research has been introducing some possible favorites.

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