Phoebe Lumley

Evolution of a creative and critical writer

On choosing Marlboro

I’m really glad I went to a big state university first because it helped me understand what I needed out of a college. I wasn’t really sure when I first started looking at colleges, I just knew I wanted something different. I found that what works for me are small classes, close student-teacher relationships, and a really heavy emphasis on writing throughout the disciplines, which I found at Marlboro. I stepped on campus and just felt completely at home, and I transferred here and it’s been fantastic. I’ve been here for a year and a half and I feel as though I’ve grown so much as a writer and as a person.

On Writing

I didn’t have a very strong writing experience in my first year of college, and I came here knowing I really wanted to work hard, especially in analytical writing. What has been so incredible about the writing courses is the amount of attention and feedback you get from your teachers. All the classes here are small—the biggest are around 15 students, and most are from eight to 12. So I will turn in one of my papers to my teachers and I will get back so much feedback and it’s so helpful and on point. It takes into consideration other work I’ve done, how my work has evolved.

This past semester I’ve been working on a “long” short story that’s about 40 pages, and writing professor T. Wilson is really helping with his responses. He has just been so amazing—I’ve been turning in draft after draft and he reads the entire thing and talks to me about it and thinks about the characters. The level of attention that I get for my work is amazing—it’s not something I’d get at another school.

On Social Life at Marlboro

Outside of fabulous academics, it’s really great to hang out on campus. I live off campus and commute, but I’m here a lot. One of my friends had a Taylor Swift–themed dance party a couple weeks ago and it was really fun. I just went to Rapid Reviews, which was community members reviewing 50 books in 50 minutes, and got some great ideas of what to read over break. For the end of the semester there were a lot of final dance performances and an open art studio, which were all amazing to see.

On the Plan of Concentration

I’m doing my Plan on literary criticism and creative writing, about half and half. I’m going to read short stories and novels on family dynamics and write literary criticism and use that to inspire my creative work and write long short fiction. I’m going to spend the next semester narrowing down the novels I want to focus on particularly. I’m going to explore a wide variety of authors from a variety of time periods, because our concept of family dynamics has changed so much over the last a hundred years. I think having different viewpoints will be really useful.

Phoebe on Writing at Marlboro College

On Advice for New Students

Expand your boundaries—take classes you aren’t sure about. Discover you have a deep love of biology or theater you didn’t know you had before. I always tell people to come visit because it is really an incredible place to be, so I highly recommend that experience. I feel like it continually reminds me how cool it is to be here when I tell other people about Marlboro.