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Nov. 5, 2020

Student view: Finding my way

Renee Prvulov is a senior with a major in professional and public writing and a minor in creative writing, concentrating in fiction, in the College of Arts and Letters.


Beginning in high school, I really couldn't go to my parents for help with homework. When some of my friends got stuck on a homework problem, they’d ask their parents — who are doctors and engineers — for help. For me, that wasn’t an option.


My mom was the only one of five children to graduate high school, and my dad was raised by a single mother who always struggled to make ends meet. College was never a conversation anyone had with them; they were expected to find a job and start earning an income.


Due to these expectations, my parents worked extremely hard to be able to support our family financially and to help my sister and I achieve our dreams. My parents raised us to want something different than the options they had. From a very young age, I was told I could be whatever I wanted to be, as long as it included college.

“From a very young age, I was told I could be whatever I wanted to be, as long as it included college.”
To them, college was something that could open so many doors for me, and they wanted me to have that chance. I’ve always loved school and learning about a variety of things, so I gladly accepted my fate.
My parents made it clear I wasn’t supposed to have their jobs, which were a waitress and a heating and cooling mechanic at the time. Most of the people in my family have working class jobs and, as a result, I couldn’t look to them for career advice. While I am grateful for my parents’ encouragement, I struggled with what I wanted to study and do with my life.
When I arrived at MSU, I was a journalism major; it seemed like the practical choice for me since I had always loved writing. Quickly, I began to realize journalism wasn’t the right fit. Being a journalist took me too far out of my comfort zone, and I didn’t enjoy the style of writing. I took a professional writing class and fell in love. Everything started to fall into place when I realized I want to be a writer and an editor.
Without any pressure from my family regarding my major or the profession I should pursue, I have had the freedom to find my passion and follow what I love. A degree in professional writing may not be the most lucrative path, but my family just wants me to be happy and educated — pursuing writing and editing does this for me.
Finding my way hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to study really hard and figure out college by myself, for the most part. While I was fortunate to have an older sister at Western Michigan University when I was applying to college, there’s been so much to sort out on my own. She prepared me for what to expect in college. My parents helped her with college applications and the FASFA, so they passed that knowledge down to me.
I do consider myself to be very fortunate, though. There are so many great resources and people here at MSU. And if it wasn’t for the love and support of my family, I wouldn’t be here.
In May, it will feel amazing when I receive my diploma, thankful for every sacrifice my parents have made.

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