How she knew Beloit was the right place
Abbie Barsness’23 knew from the moment she stepped foot on campus that Beloit was the one. She recalls getting out of the car for her first campus tour and immediately telling her mother, “This is it.” Her mother thoughtfully replied, “Well, let’s go tour it first!”
Originally from the small town of Lindstrom, Minn., Abbie has found her home at Beloit College like so many other aspiring creative writers. Beloit’s creative writing major made it stand out for her amid a multitude of small, liberal arts colleges that might all seem the same at first glance.
A copy of the Beloit Fiction Journal –– a literary journal of professional works edited by junior and senior year Beloit students –– quickly made its way into her hands as a prospective student, and she read the whole publication within a week. “I loved it,” she says. “That’s one of the main things that drew me here … [Beloit has] an awesome creative writing program.”
Abbie’s passion for writing is influencing both her journey through college and her post-Beloit plans. She self-published one novel,Forest of Runaways, last fall. A work of realistic fiction, it features main characters Logan and Emily as they struggle to survive in a forest and around each other. A copy of her book is available to be checked out at Beloit’s Morse Library.
In addition to her creative writing major, Abbie is also striving for both Spanish and education majors. Since she attended a Spanish immersion school as a child, she is already fluent in Spanish, and her father advised her to pursue an education major as well, just to be safe.
Abbie hopes to be a full-time author in the future –– with a six-part fantasy series already in the works –– but she figures she’ll be teaching Spanish and creative writing for a while before that becomes a reality.
Abbie is a self-described introvert, saying, “My freshman year, I did not say a word in any of my classes.” But after three years at Beloit, she finds herself less hesitant to share her thoughts in class and more willing to talk to new people.
To her introverted first-year-self, she offers some advice that all first-year students might benefit from: “Make friends outside of the dorm … and also just try everything, because there are definitely some things that I wish I had tried as a freshman and now it’s a little too late.”
While she may wish, for instance, that she had joined a sorority, Abbie is involved in plenty of activities on campus. She plays Dungeons & Dragons with the Beloit Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, sings in the college chamber choir, and co-directs the Bits & Pieces a cappella group on campus. As co-director, she organizes auditions (which are open to anyone who can sing), sending out the music, and plucking out notes on the piano during rehearsals.
In her junior year, Abbie worked at Beloit’s Boathouse, where students can rent canoes and kayaks and learn everything they need to know before navigating the Rock River for the first time. She hopes to secure a job at the Boathouse again during her senior year.
The Boathouse is one of Abbie’s favorite spaces on campus, but it falls second to the World Affairs Center, commonly known as “WAC” among the student body. WAC is the home of classics, English literature, and modern language courses on campus, but Abbie loves it for more reasons than that.
The old columns adorning the exterior of the building give it personality, and the fact that the building used to be the college library appeals to her the most. “I like books, and [WAC] used to be a home for books!” she says.
Abbie’s one word description of the building is “quirky,” a term which can easily be applied to the whole of the Beloit campus that she loves. “[Beloit’s] definitely fun and a little weird,” she says, “but I’d much rather have it be weird than boring.”