We Are English Majors: Raul Castellanos
Raul Castellanos is a fourth-year English major, a transfer student, and President of the official English club Beyond the Book. We talked to him about the club, getting involved, and some strategies for transfer students.
Could you tell us about Beyond the Book?
Beyond the Book Club meets multiple times a week to discuss short stories, literature, music and movies, and to workshop creative writing pieces. We like to think of the club as a group of friends who all happen to like literature and writing, and we’re very proud of the fact that our members are a mix of English and non-English majors! We base our meetings around the fun, informal elements of English classes so that English majors can come do what they love in an informal setting with minimal reading and no papers due, and non-English majors who don’t want to commit to actual classes can enjoy a small dose of the English major life.
How and why did you get involved in this club? Does it take a lot of time and effort?
I got involved with the club because when I transferred last year, I was worried I wouldn’t make any friends or fit in with other English majors. The club really helped with that—I’ve met most of my closest friends at UCD through book club! Being a member wasn’t very much work, but when I transitioned into being an officer and then leading meetings as president, it became a ton of work. The club means a lot to me though, so that gives me the motivation I need to get through it. I also have a wonderful co-president and officers, and they make running the club a rewarding and meaningful experience. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.
How can students get involved in the club?
Follow us on Facebook or sign up for our emails, and then just come to any of our events or meetings! We don’t mind if you can’t make it regularly, we’re happy to see you even if it’s just now and again. (This quarter, the group meets in Olson 163 on Mondays at 6pm.)
As a transfer student, how did you choose to navigate UC Davis's English Department?
I made as many English major friends as I could and followed in the footsteps of the ones I admired. I also met with our peer advisors, went to office hours when I could, and met with Lynda every quarter to make sure I was on track with everything. Our department is warm, welcoming, and brimming with talented and interesting people, so there's a lot to be excited about and that makes the workload easier to cope with. I would tell any incoming transfer to not be nervous, because they picked a fabulous major with lots of great resources and support—just make sure you take advantage of those resources as much as you can!