Melissa Abshire originally began her college career at UL Lafayette as a microbiology major in 2008. But it wasn’t meant to be — she dropped out after her first year.
Ten years later, she returned to UL Lafayette to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in English with a new outlook and old passions.
“I had never dreamed that I would come back to school,” Melissa said excitedly. “I had a kid and I wanted to be someone she looks up to.”
Pursuing her Passion
Melissa chose to study English because of her lifelong passion for reading.
“I prefer books to people,” she laughed.
In addition to her love of reading, Melissa’s English studies let her embrace her other passions as well.
“I really want to write,” she said. “I’ve been drawn to theater. I want to write plays and maybe move from there to writing for the screen. I wasn’t thinking blockbusters or anything, but I was thinking with all these streaming services, they have a huge demand for original content, and if that’s not an opening for writers I don’t know what is.”
This interest in screenwriting motivated Melissa to pursue a minor in cinema studies.
“I think that storytelling is such a powerful tool,” she said.
Motherhood at UL Lafayette
Melissa is sharing her UL Lafayette experience with her daughter, who attends the Child Development Center, UL Lafayette’s childcare for students, faculty, and staff.
“It’s really fun honestly because I feel like she’s growing and learning with me,” Melissa said. “She’s really a delight. I feel like going there has helped her completely blossom.”
Exploring UL Lafayette's Courses
One of Melissa’s favorite classes outside her major has been Astronomy Beyond the Solar System (PHYS 170) with Gina Sorci.
“I love space, and I felt like sort of cosmic perspective would really give me a boost in creativity,” Melisa said.
She even found herself enjoying classes she never imagined she would, like practical mathematics (MATH 210) with Haewon Lee.
“I was so intimidated by math before, and somehow this man made me good at math and made me love math and I don’t even know how,” she said.
Becoming a Better Writer
Melissa’s favorite thing about the English department has been reading other people’s writing, especially young writers.
“I don’t think of any writing as bad, it’s just different,” she explained. “It can also be eye-opening.”
In addition to revision, Melissa has learned other tools to improve her writing.
“Write something in as plain of words as possible, don’t worry about how to say it, just get the thought on paper and you can go back to it later,” she explained.