Introducing UNF’s English Graduate’s Organization

Mallory Pace, Reporter

Graduate school can be intimidating, especially when you’re trying to make genuine connections with your peers and professors while learning as much as you can but the University of North Florida’s English Graduate’s Organization can help. EGO is an organization that seeks to help graduate students make connections and build a sense of community during this new chapter of their lives.  

Rosie Parra, the vice president of EGO, joined UNF in January of 2021 for the English graduate program. She heard about a meeting over Zoom for students and went out on a limb and joined. Through that first meeting, she was able to meet a lot of her fellow classmates and begin to create connections that would continuously support her throughout her time in the program.  

“I do believe the college environment, at both undergrad and graduate level, is all about networking with students and professors, and I feel like it was a good place to build relationships, so now here I am a year later with so many friends in the program,” said Parra.  

EGO holds Zoom meetings on Friday nights for any recurring members or new students looking for a place to start. In their meetings, they discuss class recommendations, achievements, worries, or any upcoming projects and events. Blair Bassett, the current president of EGO, commented on how the nature of the pandemic has affected the classroom environment by putting up barriers between students via social distancing and masks. 

During these Zoom meetings, Bassett explained, students have the opportunity to express themselves and share observations that no one will judge them for. 

Bassett highlighted the importance of taking advantage of this free organization that is there to guide students into the world after college. She explained how developing networking skills and capabilities can be used in the post-graduation world because sometimes students may have a hard time conceptualizing life after college.

Also, Bassett heavily emphasized how the incredible support and contributions from the professors and department have shaped EGO and the program as a whole.

“The professors at UNF, like Dr. Lieberman and Dr. Beasley, are encouraging the engagement of students in a way that will positively affect them post-graduation with their master’s degree… None of this could be attributed to EGO without the kind of assistance that has been offered,” she said. 

Through the expectation of the graduate organization, EGO attends nationwide conferences alongside every university. Last spring, four students participated, including Parra and Bassett, who both presented academic papers, while two others presented creative papers.  

Finally, to any students either in the graduate program now, or anyone considering doing so, both Parra and Bassett offer insight. They encourage these students to utilize this organization that is designed to help them succeed and navigate the anxieties that most graduate students experience.  

“What advice would I give? Think long and hard. What was that instinctual thing that struck you as a child that made you think ‘this is what I love’?” Bassett shared. 

For Bassett, it was reading that inspired her. From an early age, she knew her purpose, and the goal of EGO is to solidify and affirm students’ purpose, reminding them that they belong here.

Parra concluded that during these two years of the program it’s nice to have that emotional support from friends and peers and that incoming students should know that EGO is there for them.


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