Shira Engel was a mentee with Girls Write Now from 2006 to 2010. She is now a junior at Wesleyan College.
I learned this invaluable truth first as a mentee at Girls Write Now. My mentor, Morgan, was a total anglophile while I was interested in Latin America. At workshops, my peers wrote about their diverse heritages, favorite places to eat, the different neighborhoods they lived in, and the various countries they came from. We were all so different, exploring separate interests and passions. None of us had the same story, yet we all came together with a deep desire to learn how to tell our own.
I am no longer an official GWN mentee. I suppose I am an alum, though that feels strange to write because I still learn from my experiences with GWN in such profound ways. No matter what other interests or passions I pursue, I just can’t escape writing. It is the medium through which I can fully absorb all my other experiences… and share them with others.
I am now a junior at Wesleyan University, double-majoring in English and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with a very liberal arts-y concentration in “Educating the Whole Person.” Since being a mentee at Girls Write Now, I have done a yoga teacher training, started a blog, began teaching yoga at Wesleyan, and wrote and self-published an e-book on yoga for college students (and I have even done a kids yoga teacher training, actually led by GWN mentor alum Sarah Herrington!).
Since leaving the cohesion and beacon of varied experiences that the GWN community holds, I saw my passions of yoga, writing, and even feminism as lines that ran parallel, various roads that I impossibly tried to walk on all at once. But then, as I worked diligently on my e-book, writing about my yoga experiences and knowledge in the service of sharing it with others, I remembered a fundamental truth that I learned repeatedly in high school. This truth was reinforced weekly through mentor meetings and monthly through the genre workshops: Passions translate.
It has been and continues to be such a gift to use writing (a passion in and of itself) to facilitate my passion for yoga, a practice that also cycles back around to fuel my writing. These roads seem to be merging, leading to one highway, which, at the moment, has a big sign that says, “Welcome to Yoga U: The College Student’s Tools for Balanced Living – Where passions converge.” I am sure the roads will diverge again, at some point, but I am also confident that writing will continue to be what brings them together.
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