Jinwoo M. Chong | Honors Alum, 2017
If you had an education anything like mine prior to arriving at Georgetown, you did not have much opportunity to engage in any meaningful study of creative writing while in school. The discipline known as ‘English’ or ‘Language Arts’ was something known to you as a research heavy, citation-laden practice of theory and criticism, often a dizzying mix of philosophy and history that often sidelined the entirety of the non-white, non-European-descended perspective. It was also, in many ways, overwhelmingly solitary. And yet, it was the only subject in school that you genuinely loved, because it allowed you to brush with some of the greatest art you know exists in the world, to study it, religiously; to attempt to understand the environment in which it was being written, and the shift it enacted on the world after it was. You bucked against the guardrails put up around you in the more fundamental classes that tackled these literary works. You found yourself asking for the freedom to work with what most interested you.
I owe everything to the Honors program at Georgetown. It was the scene of my first short story, my first novel outline, my first workshops, my first critiques, my first in-depth meetings with faculty who not only understood what I was trying to do in my work but gave me the freedom to experiment with my own solutions to problems that arose. It was where I first understood the landscape of Asian American Literature and its reckonings in the ever-modernizing sense of the American identity. I laid the foundations of everything I have ever written since while a student in the Honors program, both under the supervision of my incredible advisors, and my wonderful cohort of Honors students.