Spotlight: One student out of 36,000

Christine Chen

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English major Madison Cottrell enjoys creative writing along with reading fiction and fantasy and hopes to one day edit novels. “I’m a senior, but I feel like I’m barely hitting the surface. There’s so much more to learn,” she said.  When she’s not reading or writing, Cottrell draws, paints, and sketches her stress away. Photo Credit: Christine Chen / Staff Reporter

English major Madison Cottrell enjoys creative writing along with reading fiction and fantasy and hopes to one day edit novels. “I’m a senior, but I feel like I’m barely hitting the surface. There’s so much more to learn,” she said. When she’s not reading or writing, Cottrell draws, paints, and sketches her stress away. Photo Credit: Christine Chen / Staff Reporter

Madison Cottrell is sitting inside the Freudian Sip at CSUN, reading a 2,500 page book.

“It’s a collection of stories for my English class,” Cottrell said.

Cottrell is an English major with a creative writing emphasis. She enjoys reading and writing fiction and fantasy. Cottrell chose her major because she has a difficult time writing essays and wanted to improve her writing skills.

“The teachers I’ve had at CSUN are really amazing,” Cottrell said.

One class assignment that Cottrell remembers was when she was working on a critical writing assignment in one of her classes. The assignment required her to create a piece that had an arbitrary restraint, meaning she had to write an essay without ever using the word “the.” The fun part, she said, is trying to write around it.

“It teaches you how to write in more different and creative ways,” Cottrell said.

Some of her favorite works of fictional writing include J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, Elizabeth Bowen’s “The Heat of the Day,” Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American” and Juliet Marillier’s “Wildwood Dancing.” She also enjoys Sigmund Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams” and Annette Kolodny’s “Dancing through the Minefield.”

Her ultimate goal after completing her undergraduate degree is to either work at a publishing company and edit novels or attend graduate school and obtain her master’s degree.

“I’m a senior, but I feel like I’m barely hitting the surface. There’s so much more to learn,” Cottrell said.

In her free time, she draws and paints to relax and escape from the daily hassles and stresses of life. She works mostly with canvas and acrylic paints for most of her paintings. She also enjoys sketching and drawing whenever she can.

As she opens her class notebook, she flips through casually and shows pictures of faces, flowers and designs.

“I usually draw in black and white, but I’m trying to get away from that,” Cottrell said. “I live outside of the world. Most of my inspiration comes from my imagination, music and outside. I like to also incorporate nature in my artwork.”