Jazzmine Bankston


The Past Kept Nudging Me Until I Finally Gave In and Said, ‘Yes!’


I used to love making up silly stories with the use of a pencil and sheet of paper. I was a little girl with a wild imagination, which tended to get me in trouble a lot since I was always daydreaming. My dad would often catch me staring off in the distance, muttering under his breath, “There she is again, off in La La Land.” Mind you, I was nowhere near as passionate as Don Quixote was about making the fantasies he read in novels his reality; I just loved getting lost in the different fantasy adventures that were created within my imagination. It was an easy way to pass the time; it was an easy way to escape boredom, especially when one has parents that are very strict and protective, hindering their kid from participating in any normal child activities.  It was a whole other world inside my head, filled with new adventures, fantasies, and thoughts of how heaven might look. And after hours of engaging in my imagination, I would try to describe the things that I saw in my head by writing them down on a sheet of paper. About the age of seven, I had already concluded that I wanted to be an author for children’s storybooks. As silly as this may sound, in connection to my childhood imagination, the path toward being an English major began to take place.

Due to the fact that my parents kept me home most of the time, I found that I could dodge boredom by escaping into books, which were much more pleasing than reality at times. Books, I found out, had many more ideas and thoughts that my imagination didn’t have. They helped speed up my thinking process, allowing more stories to form inside of my brain. I would read and read and read until my eyes dried out--a pleasurable habit that I still suffer with. Back in the day, I would set up camp in my room, sleeping in a tent rather than in my bed, using a flashlight to read through the several checked out library books that I had stacked in a disorderly fashion next to my pillow. It was quite charming.

In the end, reading and writing became the two hobbies that I enjoyed doing. I found myself looking forward to attending the English class of the day, from junior high till 10th grade. I enjoyed the daily readings from famous authors or poets, learning new vocabulary words, journaling, and even grading papers. I loved my English teachers, though many of my classmates throughout my past school life didn’t. I always felt this strange familiar connection with my teachers, especially Mrs. Defrates who was my senior year English teacher. It was through these experiences that I began to consider the possibility of being an English teacher who could also be an author. And one thing that students neglect to appreciate is the caring nature of English teachers; they really do care for their students and are passionate about helping them. I am just so passionate  in certain aspects of English that I feel that there are so many more ways to help and be an even better influence to the people of this world by teaching it.

With the influence of my parents, power of my imagination, and adoration of English teachers, there is one more reason for my decision of becoming an English major. When I was fourteen years old, I was introduced to a Christian book series called The Mark of the Lion, written by Francine Rivers. I can honestly say that Christian fiction was not my favorite genre because I felt like most authors just bluff up the fictional reality of things and label their books as Christian just so they can fit under that category. Well, my assumption was wrong when I ran into Francine Rivers. Her books had the strongest impact on me, on my life, in such a spiritual way that no other person or thing could have at that time. Even though I was a pastor’s kid, it was through Francine Rivers that I fully accepted God and made my final decision on wanting to be baptized. Personally, I believe it was divine intervention, though that may sound silly to some people. It was through Francine Rivers, and her books, that I made my final decision of wanting to a Christian author along with being an English teacher.

All these reasons add up to my choice of wanting to be an English major. I want to learn how to write, to research, to teach, to say things in ways that are easy to comprehend and in ways that make sense. I want to have the impact and influence that Francine Rivers, my past English teachers, and my current English professors have on me. I want to be that author, that teacher, that future person that I believe God has called me to be. I have come through many challenges in my life that have attempted to hinder me from continuing down this road and failed, like other people’s expectations of my future. But in the end, it’s about pleasing God and not pleasing people. No matter what other path I try to take, somehow I am always brought back to this English major path. It’s like the saying that my dad tells me about knowing the person you want to marry is the person that you are destined to be with for the rest of your life: “When you know, you just know.” That is how I feel about being an English major, about choosing this path. It’s a finalized meant-to-be situation, something that I can’t hide from, something that I don’t want to run away from. This is why I am an English major.