Hi! My name is Sena Cebeci. I'm a pre-law Politics major hoping to pursue a poetry thesis in the Creative Writing program. Though I spent most of my free time as a kid reading (and like most kids who spend more time with books than people, secretly wanted to be a writer), I never considered myself all that capable of writing. I only found myself writing creatively when I was encouraged (read: required) to do so a few times in high school. Most of my writing insecurity came from feeling like I wasn't traditionally 'artsy' or there wasn't much support for people of my background in school arts departments. The first place I felt really comfortable in my writing was in Songline Slam Poetry, a group I joined my freshman year at Princeton. I auditioned for it because the people in it were talented, POC writers and I really wanted them to be my friends. Thankfully that happened! Conveniently, being in the group also happened to really develop my style and independence as a writer.
Taking poetry classes my sophomore year was another big leap which built my framework for thinking critically about writing and gave me more creativity and clarity in approaching my poetry. My experience in my classes was really satisfying because it brought me to a point where I can look back and see a lot of growth in my work. However, applying to poetry courses came with apprehension stemming from general anxiety, fear of either standing out or being boxed in by people's impressions of my identity, and my dislike for the elitism and exclusion that you can bump into in intellectual artistic spaces (especially ones that are "application-only"). It was a relief to find that these classes actually became such a bright spot in my schedule.
Being a Peer Arts Advisor is important to me because I want people to know that the vulnerabilities and worries we might have are valid, and that regardless of background or experience, we have a right to find (or make) great creative spaces for ourselves. While it's true that nowhere is perfect and I still come up against difficulties in Princeton's 'creative scene,' I want people to know how valuable it is to get involved, how much it can change your Princeton experience for the better, and how much freedom and strength it can give you to have these outlets for expression. I'd be really happy to sit down and talk with anyone who has questions or thoughts about writing at Princeton, life in general at Princeton, any of the stuff I mentioned, or anything else you want to mention — you can email me at email@example.com anytime! I'm also involved in the Muslim Students Association, SHARE, and Songline if you want someone to talk to about any of those things or how being in a faith community or other groups might intersect with creative work.