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Interviews | Madison Wilcox

May 26, 2021

English Matters:  Madison, tell us about why you've chosen to major in English at Southern.

Madison: “My short answer is that I want to know how to think and be able to tell people about the things I think about. My long answer is that if I am so determined to think, I need to listen to what other people have thought before me alongside the biblical worldview. I believe an English degree at Southern will give me this experience. Studying literature specifically will give me key insights into how and what people have thought in the past. I want this breadth of insight to build on for my future life of thought and writing.”

English Matters: You took a gap year. Tell us about that.

Madison: “Originally I took the gap year so I could retake the SAT. (I’m quite a nerd about that test. It’s one of my favorite things to talk about.) I had taken it in March of 2020 but wasn’t happy with my score, so I decided to put off college for a year so I could take it the following August. (Though I didn’t end up getting my desired score till I took it for the third time in December.) Looking back now, I’m very glad I took the gap year even apart from the SAT. I was able to take a class from the Christian Counselor’s Education Foundation (CCEF) called Dynamics of Biblical Change, which gave me the opportunity for some much needed spiritual growth. I also got to do some tutoring in my community this past year that I couldn’t imagine missing out on. Overall, the past year has been very positive; I think it’s prepared me to really dive in come fall.”

English Matters: What are you especially interested in studying in the English major?

Madison: “I’m not sure I have a definite answer to that question at this point. I’ve decided to do English Literature (as opposed to Professional Writing/TESOL/Teaching Licensure). I do feel the need to gain more of a solid foundation in literature in general before I decide on a specific period to focus on. I’m also very eager to get a lot of writing experience and instruction; one of the classes I’m most excited about taking is the Creative Nonfiction writing class!

English Matters: Madison, what sorts of books have you been reading lately?

Madison: “As far as fiction goes, I have a penchant for Dostoevsky, an author I only discovered last summer after hearing the quote, ‘Low ceilings are bad for the soul’ in a podcast my dad was listening to. That one line was enough to make me check out Crime and Punishment the next time I was at the library. I don’t think I was even more than half finished with the book before I was dreaming of doing a degree in Russian literature. There is just something about his novels; he has an uncanny ability to explore the complexity of humanity. I can’t get over him. Currently, however, I’ve been focusing mostly on reading nonfiction books about technology and its effects on humans, both socially and academically. At the moment, I have a stack of six library books on my desk which I am determined to read before they are all due.”


This interview was conducted by email.