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Senior Natasha Lane Publishes First Novel

Publishing a novel is something that many people dream of accomplishing throughout their lifetimes, but for senior, Natasha Lane, she is already well on her way to becoming a successful, published novelist. As a Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Juniata, I had the opportunity to interview Natasha to find out more about her accomplishments.

Her love for writing first started when she was a young girl. She said, “I had a love for reading, and that love for reading just changed into a love for writing. I started off writing just poetry, which was good because it was a way to get my emotions out. I guess I was an angry kid for various reasons, so I wrote poetry to get my feelings out.”

In 8th grade, Natasha had to write a short-story for class, and she told her teacher that she wanted to make it into a full-length novel. Her teacher responded, “Well, then why don’t you do it?” So at the age of 13, Natasha wrote her first novel and got into the habit of scribbling down ideas for future novels in a little notebook.

Although she has had previous works published in the past, A Meeting at the Grocery Store was the first novel that she had had published.

Natasha Lane holding her 1st published novel and a newspaper article featuring her work.

“I originally submitted a fantasy novel to Books to Go Now, but they rejected it. They said that they prefer to publish e-books versus print copies, but they said, ‘We can tell you can write, so would you come back on as romance writer for us?’”

“I am one of those people who used to look down on romance novels because sometimes it can just be so cliché with a damsel in distress and perfect cookie-cutter characters. You see people like Fabio and shirtless cowboys, but I thought that maybe I could write my novel in a way that wasn’t so cliché.”

Natasha then wrote A Meeting at the Grocery Store for the next several months, which is now available for purchase on Amazon. She is also working on a second novel titled, Waiting for Mistletoe, which should be available for purchase sometime this month. Additionally, she is writing a sequel for A Meeting at the Grocery Store.

When asked about where she finds inspiration for her novels, she said, “I daydream all the time. I am like the queen of daydreaming. I don’t really force myself to daydream, but if something isn’t really interesting to me in class, I let my mind just go. And sometimes, I’m inspired by things that have happened in my life. Sometimes, I reflect on past events, and I think, ‘I wish I could have handled that event differently, or I wish I was the person I am now so that I would have known how to handle that better.’”

In the future, Natasha hopes to find a bigger publishing company and also focus on entrepreneurship. She has an individualized POE of Entrepreneurial Journalism and hopes to one day work as either the communications or marketing director in a non-profit sector, while also continuing her love for creative writing.

“I love business, and I love creative writing. I can’t really see myself choosing one over the other, so I pray that I won’t ever have to choose,” said Natasha.

When asked which author she emulated the most, she responded, “I don’t really follow too many authors. I mainly just read the titles of books and decide if I would like them or not, but I do know that I want to be an original. One time when I was younger, my uncle was talking with me about what I wanted to do with my life. He said, ‘You could be the next Oprah Winfrey,’ and I said, ‘I don’t want to be the next Oprah Winfrey. I want to be the first Natasha Lane.’ And that’s the truth. I don’t want to be a copy of someone else. I want to be an original.”

Natasha is truly an inspiration for all writers, and I wish her the very best in all of her future endeavors!

To purchase A Meeting at the Grocery, check it out on Amazon!

The cover of “A Meeting at the Grocery Store” by Natasha Lane

I teach to…

CA Name Plate web

I don’t think it’s just Juniata College nor do I think it’s just Pennsylvania. Students studying to be teachers all over the country are frequently criticized and their choice is questioned. As someone who’s been a teacher at heart since I learned to talk, this is why I teach.

I teach to create a brighter future. I can’t change the hate, discrimination, and violence in the world today, but I can change it for the future. The students in my classroom are the future, and preschool and elementary schoolers’ attitudes are malleable in a way that adults’ attitudes aren’t. I’m cognizant of the influence I have in their lives and use that influence to teach an anti-bias curriculum that actively seeks to dispel stereotypes.

I teach to share. That’s what teaching is, really. It’s just sharing. I love books, so I try to share that love of reading with my students. I love science, so I cultivate curiosity and problem-solving through science lessons and activities. I have a different perspective on life and I come from a different generation than my students, so I have all of that rich culture and history to share as well. And sharing is reciprocal. I create a classroom space in which my students feel comfortable sharing their life experiences and knowledge with me. I believe that, regardless of age or authority, we should all be able to share our knowledge and experience with each other and learn from others.

I teach to learn. Kids are way smarter than adults give them credit for, and I teach to learn from them. Some kids know more about dinosaurs than I will ever know, some have had unique life experiences that I don’t know anything about, and some are emotionally intelligent beyond their years. Each child has a unique knowledge base to share with the world, and they’re so enthusiastic to share what they know. It’s my job as a teacher to value their knowledge and learn from them. In terms of emotional well-being and acceptance of differences, kids are some of the wisest people I know. As a teacher, it’s both my job to teach my students and to learn from them.

I teach to make a difference in someone’s life. Students come into my classroom from many different homes and kinds of families, and some come to school with a lot of emotional baggage. It’s my job to provide a safe, caring environment for every student, and create a classroom in which all students can be successful. For many students, teachers are their safe haven and school is a place where they can feel safe and loved. That’s a big responsibility, but it’s a responsibility that comes with so many rewards.

I teach for a multitude of reasons, and these are just a few of them. But, regardless of why I teach, I’m glad I teach at Juniata. Juniata’s Education department is unique and continues to prepare me well for life after graduation. Every semester, I have a practicum in which I get hands-on experience in a preschool or elementary school classroom. In addition to classroom time, my classes teach me valuable skills for other aspects of teaching, including writing IEPs, creating transition plans, and facilitating home visits for families. Juniata has prepared me well for teaching and will continue to prepare me over the course of the next 2 ½ years. There are a million reasons why I teach, and a million and one reasons why I’m an Ed POE at Juniata.

Hug an Atheist

MM Hug an Atheist webThe Secular Student Alliance is a newer club on campus that offers Secular students a community to discuss and debate their ideologies and beliefs.

Jaylene Brown, the Secular Student Alliance President, states that the club is important for students with beliefs that do not necessarily coincide with organized religion to have a place to converse about their secular identifies and spiritualties. She believes “You need to be very open about your beliefs because that is who you are. Your beliefs make you who you are. If religious people don’t have a problem expressing what they believe in, why should individuals who don’t necessarily belong to a certain religion?”

The Secular Student alliance on campus is a group of secular students with secular ideologies. The word alliance implies the word community and that is what this club is trying to create. It is trying to create a community for secular students here on campus. Recently, they showed a documentary entitled Hug an Atheist, which provided a very humane look to Atheists in an attempt to break common stereotypes.

This club, like many others on campus, is trying to establish a community or a safe place on campus for students who are different from the stereotype. The Secular Student Alliance wants secular students to come and talk about what they believe in, and they welcome students who do belong to an established religion. They want to abolish the stereotypes that are out there about individuals who are Atheist, Agnostic, or who are not afflicted with the Church.

I believe this is a good example of how Juniata, or more importantly Juniata students, try to incorporate as many different people in to the Juniata community as possible.

Traveling Home for the Holidays

When I first arrived at Juniata, I felt like everyone around me was from Pennsylvania. Everyone I talked to would say, “Oh yeah, I’m from Altoona,” or, “I live outside of Philly,” or some variation of this. However, I am not one of those people. I’m from Boston, which is a very long drive from Juniata College. When planning my fall, Thanksgiving and winter breaks, I was worried I wouldn’t find a way to get to the airport, or people that weren’t driving home to the same areas I was headed. I was very pleasantly proved wrong.

Juniata has students from almost forty different states in the U.S. as well as over forty different countries. There are so many people who don’t live locally, who fly from University Park Airport in State College or Harrisburg International Airport, take a bus or drive home for the holidays. Juniata College allows freshman to have cars on campus, which has been very helpful for me so far. Although I do not have a car of my own, my roommate, who lives in Altoona, PA, has her own car. She, as well as many of the students here at Juniata, is incredibly generous when offering rides to places I need to go. It is also easy to find other students looking for ride or cab shares on your Juniata Class Facebook group.

One of the many student parking lots.
One of the many student parking lots.

If you don’t have friends with access to a car, don’t worry! Juniata offers a shuttle service during the week of breaks throughout the semester. For a low cost, the school will shuttle you to or from campus to some of the neighboring airports in State College and Harrisburg, as well as different bus and train stations in those areas. They are easy to sign up for, and are offered at different times throughout the day to work with everyone’s schedules.

Many people may worry about going to a small school in a small town, but Juniata works to make travel accessible to all students and to make the town of Huntingdon seem not so small!

This Week at Juniata 14