Student of the Month: Viktor Niemiec
Say Hello to the UC Davis English Department's January 2020 Student of the Month! Meet Viktor Niemiec, a hard-working and dedicated junior, pursing his English (Literature, Criticism, and Theory emphasis) major and Education minor.
What is the most memorable English class you've taken at UC Davis? Why?
ENL 182, Literature in California, has been the most influential class I've taken at Davis. The class had a warmth to it. San Francisco "hippies" and Californian Naturalists have the right idea about a lot of the world's issues.
What essay/project are you most excited about right now? Why?
A piece of sea glass originates from a trashed glass shard, turned and tumbled by the ocean so much it eventually becomes a smooth, opaque stone. My poetry anthology "sea glass" centers around the idea that you can play with your experiences and change their "meaning" into whatever you want them to be. Putting all the pieces together has been a really special and nostalgic process.
What is your favorite book/author? Why?
My go-to when asked the "favorite book" question is "Lunch Poems" by Frank O'Hara. A bunch of the pieces are written during the narrator's lunch break, which I personally find very cheeky as it works to disassemble the facade of a poet's, often falsified, grandiosity. O'Hara's love of art and pop culture within the 1950s and 60s is cleverly integrated into his real world hopes. It's amazing.
Why did you decide to major in English?
The driving factor in my major declaration was honestly how cool all my English teachers were in high school. The core of English as a subject is really pure, asking its students to empathize with fictional "others," permeating solid morals and ability to empathize into students' lives.
What is something you want other English Majors to know about your work?
Succeeding in English doesn't mean sacrificing your voice. Coming from a place of humor, nuance, or satire that's sparked in you after reading an open ended prompt usually offers a better reading experience than forcing out a cookie-cutter essay. You don't have to follow anyone's rules.