English Grad Laura West Excels at UVU

English Grad Laura West Excels at UVU

Laura West, this year’s outstanding graduate for the English department, knows how to overcome challenges to excel in college — even if at first it seemed daunting.

“Honestly, my GPA out of high school was really terrible,” she said. “I really appreciate that UVU was a university that had open enrollment. They gave me a second chance at education.”

Although she didn’t initially know what she wanted to major in as a freshman, West decided to take English 1010 since that’s a class everyone has to take. “I've always enjoyed reading and writing but seriously struggled to do either when assigned to,” she said. “I thought I would be gritting my teeth through the assigned reading and writing, but I actually loved it. I looked through the required classes for a bachelor's degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. I found that every class was something that I would “get to” take, rather than “have to” take. After that, I never looked back.”

West said that she loved the discussion-based classes that dominated her schedule, mentioning that they really fit with UVU’s mission of engagement. “I was encouraged to say what I thought and see how that went along with or sometimes contradicted what others thought,” she said. “I have had so many incredible professors who were encouraging, helpful, passionate, and knowledgeable. I feel incredibly lucky to have attended a university with such devoted faculty.”

During her time UVU, West has already been published multiple times, including in Touchstones, the English department’s literary journal. West also served as the poetry editor for Touchstones and said that has been one of the highlights of her time at UVU.

She plans to pursue a graduate degree while continuing to write in hopes of being published. 

To those thinking of pursuing an English major, West says, “Take advantage of everything the major has to offer, whatever your emphasis. Don’t limit yourself. Learn more about literature by writing, more about writing by reading literature, and more about everything by studying rhetoric.”

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