Monday, March 16, saw the induction of new members to the Widener University chapter of Sigma Tau Delta.  Chapter President Autumn Heisler (’15) offered some remarks, which she was generous enough to share here:

I am a psychology major. Wait. Yes. I am a psychology major. I’m seventeen years old, and I’ve been told by everyone and their mothers that I need to pick my major for college so that I can plan out the rest of my life. I pick psychology, because I am

Chapter President Autumn Heisler shares her remarks; photo courtesy of Professor Mark Graybill
Chapter President Autumn Heisler shares her remarks; photo courtesy of Professor Mark Graybill

told I would be good at it. I’m seventeen years old. I have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life. I do know it isn’t psychology, though, but I choose it anyways. I have no real clue what else I want.

Okay. I have a clue. Actually, I know the only clue: I want to write. And at seventeen, I don’t know how to tell people that. So I hide away my stories, each world closeted for only me to know. Until, one day, when I leave four pages, single spaced lying on my bed, and my father stumbles upon them, thinking it’s an essay. He reads them. He calls me to him, and I am mortified, (encounters like this mortify seventeen year olds), and he asks me, “Why aren’t you pursuing this?”

I’m telling everyone here this particular story, because I wouldn’t be standing in front of you if it hadn’t happened this way. Or maybe I would. I do believe in fate, and I believe that writing has always been mine. But it did happen this way, and though I’ve never told my father this, I am eternally grateful for his “snooping.”

Every time I recall this story, I always get this passionate surge of responsibility to tell people to follow their dreams. It’s a cliché, I know, but it’s one that I think is so important for people to hear. Follow your dreams. You should never have to sacrifice your own happiness, because you are afraid of what others might be saying or thinking. In the end, it’s your life; not theirs. I wish that I had had the confidence to tell my family and friends on my own, but I needed that push. I was introverted, and I carried that with me into college. Being at Widener has brought me out of my shell.

Sigma Tau Delta, for me, is a community of book nerds who love giving the gift of English to everyone they meet.

Widener has given me more opportunities than I can even count. Because of English and creative writing, I’ve gained experience in writing, critical reading, editing, and more. I’ve worked as a student editor for three years in University Relations. I’ve been on the staff of our literary journal for four years and am now editor-in-chief of Widener Ink. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to go to Seattle and soon Minneapolis to attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference. I was a part of the pilot team in creating the Blue&Gold, bringing news to students. I’ve been published in the numerous magazines and online. I love writing so much, I added a professional writing minor during my sophomore year in order to learn as many styles of writing as I could. I was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta last spring and have acted as president for the past school year.

Sigma Tau Delta is an organization that strives to support high standards of academic excellence by fostering learning through literature, language, and writing, both within our community and in the larger society. In continuation of this serving our community, our chapter has donated books to Chester City Hall to be used by the Youth Aid Panel and the GED training group. Widener’s chapter has also donated books in order to support children’s literacy to an English immersion elementary school on  Zamorano University’s campus in Honduras, as well as to an orphanage close to Zamorano. Sigma Tau Delta is a celebration of people who know the importance of the written word.

l-r: Dean Don Devilbiss, Ellen Madison, Emily DeFreitas, Maria Klecko, Christian Scittina, Kimberlee Roberts, Veronica Vasquez, Autumn Heisler, Dean Sharon Meagher; photo courtesy of Professor Mark Graybill
l-r: Dean Don Devilbiss, Ellen Madison, Emily DeFreitas, Maria Klecko, Christian Scittina, Kimberlee Roberts, Veronica Vasquez, Autumn Heisler, Dean Sharon Meagher; photo courtesy of Professor Mark Graybill

I want the new inductees to know that they are joining something with a very important meaning. Sigma Tau Delta, for me, is a community of book nerds who love giving the gift of English to everyone they meet. I started out scared and quiet. Now, I am a creative writing and English dual major. I am twenty-one years old. I am following my dream, and though I am a rather quiet person, I tell everyone why I am where I am today, because I’m happy here, being me.

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