Because you are reading my work, it might be helpful to know a little bit about me and why my mind works the way it works.

My name is Heidi Swanson. I was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Fun fact: I am related to Curly Lambeau (though unfortunately not closely enough to get season tickets). My hobbies include reading, playing sports, watching movies, and playing with my dog, Xander.

My love for reading has been heavily influenced by my mom. Ever since I can remember, she has recommended new books to read and talked with me about our favorite series. One of my favorite quotes from my mom is, “Rereading books is like visiting with an old friend.” She was my reading teacher in seventh and eighth grade, and we read a myriad of literature: To Kill A Mockingbird, The Giver and “The Most Dangerous Game,” to name a few. In fact, we did a mock trial of a character in “The Most Dangerous Game,” which opened my eyes that you can be interactive when reading a text. Also, my mom is very close with the librarian, Mrs. Lani, at the school she teaches at, and this has been really awesome for me. One time, Mrs. Lani invited us to go to Barnes and Noble to buy new books for the school library, and we bought 1800 dollars worth of books. It was a dream come true.

I have always been one of those weird kids that likes school. It might be because I have never really experienced any trouble learning, but it is also because I have been lucky with the people I have met and known through school. At St. Bernard, which I attended from kindergarten to eighth grade, my classmates and teachers were incredible. The one teacher who always encouraged me to be me was Mrs. Allen. You could hear her laugh from across the building, and her infectious joy was ever present during my grade school years.

After eighth grade, I attended Notre Dame Academy for high school. Again, I must have a good dose of luck, because I had one of the greatest teachers at Notre Dame, Mrs. Brown, for three out of the four years. She is famous for her brownies (get it? Mrs. Brown…brownies– you get it). Though she taught us a lot about literature, she also taught us a lot about life. She told us so many stories‒ sometimes all of class would just be her recounting her fascinating and fun-filled tales of life. Like Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Brown has always encouraged me to be the best person I can be. I honestly can’t describe how amazing Mrs. Brown is. You’d have to meet her to understand. She also told us that because we would analyze so much in her class, we would begin to analyze everything‒ songs, commercials, children’s books‒ and she was definitely right. But that was great preparation for English 305.

At the end of my senior year, I still was not sure which college I would attend. My road to deciding on St. Norbert was pretty rocky. Applying was almost literally a last minute thing. I received an email that said the last day to apply without a fee and without having to write an essay was extended for me. No money and no essay sounded perfect. On a whim, I applied. Before then, my top two choices were Madison and Minnesota. Along the way, I realized Madison was definitely not the college for me, and Minnesota ended up being more expensive than St. Norbert. Upon reflection, I am so happy I chose St. Norbert. I can feel the sense of community on campus, which sounds kind of corny but sometimes I like corny.

I am an English major and Spanish minor at St. Norbert. Both of these subjects give me the chance to read and read and read. I love that I get to take classes I actually enjoy, like Science Fiction and Fantasy, Classic and Contemporary Fairy Tales, and Spanish Literature.

My plan after college is to become a book editor. Getting my hands on the next bestseller before anyone else sounds like absolute bliss. Before I do that, I want to travel to far off places that are full of magic and mystery, like the Grand Canyon and the Cliffs of Moher. A lot of my desire to travel comes from my love of reading; I want to journey to far off places like my favorite characters have.

For me, stories are a way to escape, to experience things I would never experience, and to gain new perspectives in the world. Sometimes, I feel like Sam in “Game of Thrones,” because when people ask him how he knows so much, he says, “I read it in a book.” Reading has opened my mind to things I would have never known or experienced.