“Be authentically you.”
That’s what Rowan senior, Maranda Jo Shinn, has to say as her biggest piece of advice for underclassmen to succeed.
Shinn is a transfer from Rutgers University Newark. She came to Rowan to study for her dual Bachelor’s in Arts in Writing Arts and Emergency Management. As a transfer, commuter and first-generation college student, Shinn wanted the opportunity to succeed.
“I wanted a place with plenty of opportunities to advance my professional career,” Shinn said. “I am passionate about leaving my mark on the next generation and want to do so in my writing.”
When she’s not studying, she immerses herself in her writing.
She is the co-editor and social media director of “Her Campus” at Rowan University, an online publication curated by women, specifically those attending this college. She is also a contributor for The Whit. Shinn typically likes to write features about life and pop culture.
Like other students, Shinn didn’t always deal with the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic and online schooling with ease. Shinn focused a lot on self-reflection and time management skills. When she found herself getting stressed, anxious or depressed, Shinn would take a step back and use a creative outlet to help her feel better.
“In a way, I think the hard times I faced taught me to truly acknowledge all the good I have in life and to be grateful,” Shinn said.
But Shinn didn’t go through the hard times alone. She had the support of not only friends and family, but two standout professors as well. Writing Arts Professors Megan Atwood and Jason Luther have been crucial in Shinn’s journey.
Shinn would describe those professors as “wonderful humans.” Both professors inspired her to write anything she wanted and to never let people judge her for her writing. Keeping the authenticity of her voice in her work inspired her to always work hard and keep her head high.
Upon graduation, Shinn wants to continue her education at law school to work for Homeland Security as a prosecutor. Besides a law career, Shinn also aspires to publish poetry books. She hopes to one day become a published author for poetry.
Though Shinn spent a lot of time at Rowan delving into her creative side, Shinn’s favorite Rowan memory is her coming out. With the support she received from friends, as well as the available services at the LGBTQIA+ Center at Hawthorn Hall, she found a safe space for her to freely express herself — much like other Rowan students in the LGBTQ+ community.
On parting words of wisdom for students who may need extra support in facing adversity, Shinn had a lot to mention.
“Times might get rough, and it might seem like the world is crumbling around you, but it’s important to keep going,” Shinn said. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. A little progress each day adds up to something beautiful in the end.”
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