Student Spotlight: Darien Smith
Darien Smith just graduated from the East Carolina University Department of English!
. . .
What brought you to ECU?
My first trip to ECU was actually in 1998 when I came with my family to a football game, I guess you could say it was my destiny. I competed here in a public speaking competition in high school and fell in love with the campus. I originally had my heart set on College of Charleston, but ECU just struck me as having a much more diverse and welcoming atmosphere, I felt like the possibilities were endless as a Pirate. When I came back for orientation, I knew I was home.
What is your area of study and how did you first become interested in it?
Funny story, I’ve actually had 5 majors in my time at ECU (and I’m still graduating early!). I could read before I started kindergarten, and I’ve never really stopped. I got my first tattoo on my 18th birthday of a quote from my favorite book, The Outsiders, so I should’ve known then that English was my calling. After lots of trial and error, I decided I was ready to settle down and graduate. After looking at all my credits, I realized that the recurring theme was English and that I’d always done markedly better in my English classes; all the pieces fell into place from there.
What are your goals after graduation?
I’m stoked to say that I will be continuing my work with the organization that I did my English internship with, Eastern NC Stop Human Trafficking Now, as a paid employee! I plan to eventually go to law school for nonprofit and civil equality law. Long term, I’d like to start a nonprofit to benefit special needs kids in foreign countries that don’t get the help and acceptance they deserve.
What has been most exciting/rewarding about your time in the English department?
The best part for me is realizing my own intelligence/power. I’d always doubted myself and thought I wasn’t an academic, that I wasn’t smart enough, but being in the English department has helped me find my own voice and stand my ground (supported with textual analysis). Besides, who else can say that they got to watch Star Wars (Science Fiction), create their own company (Professional Writing), and imitate Sir Ian McKellan (Shakespeare: The Histories) during their senior year?
What recognitions/achievements in your ECU career are you most proud of and why?
It’s going to sound really cheesy and I’ll probably regret this later, but finding myself. College has been a long, hard journey, but one I’d do anything to relive. I’ve grown so much as a person, and I have ECU to thank for that.
Also I have a killer GPA and I still go to bed at 9:30 every night.
What would you say to someone considering coming to ECU to study English?
“We’re all mad here.”
But seriously, do it. There’s no right or wrong in the English department (except your/you’re and they’re/their/there and even that’s debatable in poetry). You don’t have to be a certain way or like a certain thing or have read a lot of classic works (because I’m graduating and I didn’t do half of my reading assignments, sorry Dr. Feder). English is so much more than reading books by dead white guys. English is the written expression of the history of the human race, there’s something here for everyone.