"Caz has allowed me a chance for self-discovery..."
Sonja Skalecki, of Cavendish, Vermont, a senior English major with communication studies and theatre minors, has loved reading and writing ever since she was a little girl. She is a person who is open to new experiences, which she connects to her love of creative writing.
Traveling has played a huge role in Skalecki's academic journey and overall life experiences. She has a unique way of looking at the world through writing and traveling. It began in middle school when she was selected as a student ambassador to travel to Australia.
In the fall of Skalecki's junior year, she traveled abroad with Cazenovia College to Canterbury, England. "Studying British Literature in Great Britain was awesome. It was also very interesting to witness the teaching style differences between English professors and American professors. It forced us to become independent," she said.
In the spring semester of 2015, Skalecki enrolled in Peat, Pubs, and Potatoes. This is a course where students explore the history, government, literature, art, design, sports, food, drink, and music of the Irish culture. During spring break, students were able to travel to Ireland for a first-hand learning experience.
As a person who is comfortable with traveling, Skalecki's Ireland trip differed from that of other students. She was not overwhelmed with the feelings of being in a different nation, and was able to let herself enjoy and absorb all the knowledge that she could. As she reflected on the trip, she said the best part was the people. "It was nice to see such diversity. I would walk down the street and into a store, and just in that short amount of time, I came in contact with so many different types of individuals," she said.
The course requires students to create a project revolving around Ireland and its culture. For Skalecki's project, she is converting her experience abroad into poetry. "One of my poems is about a man who I saw sitting on a park bench, surrounded by pigeons. They ate out of his hands while the man just sat there, enjoying them," she said. "Despite all of the big cities I've walked through, I've never seen anything like that before." Here is a short excerpt of Skalecki's poem, The Pigeon Man, included in her project:
"Forearms, snatching up the offering
in his gnarled hands.
Hands that shake slightly of their own accord.
Hands that have felt and worked and given
Everything they could offer."
While in Ireland, the students visited all sorts of sites. They went to museums, galleries, shops, pubs, the Blarney Castle, Galway, Giants Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, and much more. "Standing at the edge of the Cliffs of Moher was indescribable," Skalecki said. "It was a beautiful day with the wind and sunny skies. You could see the entire coast and how the land rippled itself alongside the water. It was breathtaking." As she reflected on her traveling experiences provided by the College, Skalecki said, "When you travel and experience another culture with a group of people, you automatically become closer to them. That is exactly what happened on my trips to Canterbury and Ireland."
Skalecki has explored all of her interests at Cazenovia College, ending with a result of becoming who she really is. "Caz has allowed me a chance for self-discovery, through traveling," she said. "That's what college is for - finding yourself."
As a person with many dreams, Skalecki has yet to choose a career path. She would love to continue with creative writing and editing work (in particular, as a volunteer). She would like to apply for a position as an editor/writer for an online video game magazine, as she is a video game enthusiast.