Freshman Olivia Lin Studies Writing at University of Chicago


Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Skillful writing is a talent few have and many enjoy. Words have the ability to move one to tears, change minds or spark a revolution.

This past summer, freshman Olivia Lin took a collegiate level class at the University of Chicago to improve her academic and professional writing through the “Little Red Schoolhouse Program.”

“It has helped me to make my writing intentions clearer and changed the way people respond to my writing,” explained Lin. “So far we have worked on an essay about the book The Hate U Give.

This is not Lin’s first experience in a U of C program. “During the summer, my mom, brother and I stay in Chicago, and my brother goes to U of C Lab School summer classes.”

The Lab School is a private school for elementary through high school students on the same campus as the university. The Lin siblings have been going for about four years now.

“Since I was starting high school, my dad decided I was aging out of the Lab School. They do provide high school summer classes, but I think they’re a little boring–ACT prep? No thanks.”

Lin’s dad is an alum of the University of Chicago, and he took the class when he was younger and thought it would be helpful to her.

Typically the class takes the whole summer, but Lin is taking it every Sunday over Skype.

“I actually didn’t have to apply,” Lin explained. “I just had to find a teacher. My teacher’s name is Justin Howell and he is a professor at U of C.”

Although Lin is only a freshman, with plenty of time in between her and those life-changing decisions the seniors are facing, she wonders about her future often.

“I didn’t actually think of pursuing a career in writing, but now I think it is definitely an option,” said Lin. “I definitely am more creatively talented, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself writing in the future.”

Lin considers her mom the person who has influenced her most.

“She’s always there for me. She’s there for me when I’m crying over something stupid to when I’m yelling at her for making me clean my room. She is definitely great at being a mom. She doesn’t really do hugs, but she does fill my room with books that are about empowering myself. I think she’s the one who really helped me figure out my love for writing. She has bought me some of my favorite books that have inspired me to write hundreds of poems.”

Lin’s genre of choice is poetry because “It has fewer rules.”

“I think one of my biggest questions is how authors are able to convey so much emotion into their writing,” shared Lin. “A mere page in a book can change the way people see the world. A book can make you cry or make you want to punch a wall. Writing has so much power. It is insanely influential and I want to learn how to make my writing like that.”

If given the opportunity to address her classmates and fellow NDA students, Lin would tell them to “Do what you love. It doesn’t matter if people judge you or not. It shouldn’t matter what other people think and it will make you so much happier if you just ignore what people say or think about you. Writing may not be the most popular thing, but it allows me to express what I may not be able to say out loud.”