Wait, where am I from?

Hello! I’m Kat – short for Kateryna, which saved me plenty of anxiety waiting for substitute teachers to massacre pronouncing this ~foreign~ spelling of an otherwise common name (huge shout out to my high school volleyball team for kicking out those 3 extra syllables). I’m currently a sophomore studying neuroscience (on the pre-med track), so sitting in a classroom with under 300 students has brought upon quite a bit of culture shock this semester. It’s been a refreshing change of pace, giving me the creative outlet I wanted to have alongside my other world of frantic note taking (and countless hours decoding these notes).

While I’m a way-too-proud East Coaster from Fair Lawn, New Jersey – 25 minutes from Manhattan, I can’t forget to mention – I was born in Athens, naturally setting my standards for Mediterranean food through the roof. To further complicate things, my entire family is Russian while from Ukraine, so you can imagine the debates I’ve sat and watched people have about where I truly am “from.”

A pronunciation one of my many backgrounds has taught me. Very Important.

I’ve noticed I’m absolutely terrible with letting people off easy by answering “how are you?” with just “good.” I think this endless desire to colorfully give too many details about my life is one of my key driving forces for writing. Being completely honest, I dreaded writing in every regard before my senior year of high school, and I didn’t develop a true excitement for it before completing my English 125 personal narrative “Fashion to Friendships.” By combining my personality into a mix of anecdote and analysis, I delve into the intricacies of my history with friendships and what each one has taught me. This is now the origin piece I am using for my experiments – an open letter, a poem, and a zine – all centered around different components of this idea of friendships and what makes them so meaningful.

While writing a poem will expose me to a medium I’m not too comfortable with, I’m quite excited to decode the components of putting together a zine. The idea itself reminds me of a matured version of my childhood crafts, and I’m looking forward to seeing if I got any better at it during my time off from practicing. I’m curious to explore how people can grow from toxic friendships, and whether or not you can become friends with anyone at all. Outside of the experiments, I wonder how I’ll change and grow as a result of my upcoming work in Gateway.

5 thoughts to “Wait, where am I from?”

  1. The personal narrative for English 125 was a big turning point for me too! I also used the personal narrative for the revised, repurposed assignment where I made it into a TedTalk – guess we got introduced into adapting writing into new genres early.

  2. I really like the first sentence about the pronunciation of your name–it definitely starts us off with an idea of your personality. I also like the addition of the image!

  3. I really love how you are pushing yourself to do things that you aren’t quite comfortable with like writing poetry! I think often times, the best outcomes of our work comes from when we push ourselves to do things we’ve never tried before. Also, poetry is such a creative outlet that will allow you to convey your message in a meaningful and fun way!

  4. Hi Kat! I loved learning so many things about you! Thank you for sharing! Also, your first sentence about mispronounced names struck something in me. My origin piece is centered around the idea of a last name being mispronounced, and I grew up with a commonly mispronounced last name, so I feel like I have a small taste of what life might have been like growing up for you. Thanks for helping me find this connection across lives/stories!

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