Kenaji Blevins is a writer and thinker at Bard High School Early College in Cleveland, Ohio.
BardVERSE: What’s easiest for you when creating an essay? What is more challenging?
Kenaji: The easiest thing to write in my essays is my conclusion. In my conclusions, I try to go against my original argument from my body paragraphs, and that is simple for me because I usually find this rebuttal while drafting my essay anyways. All I have to do is flesh out those counter ideas. The more challenging aspect when writing my essays is creating unique ideas for my hook in my introduction paragraphs. Sometimes it is difficult for me to think about more interesting topics to include in my intro.
BardVERSE: What’s been your favorite essay you’ve written at Bard? Why?
Kenaji: My favorite essay I have written is my self-reflection essay I wrote at the end of ninth grade. Reflecting on the experiences I have been through put me in a mindset to progress. I saw my trials and tribulations in an entirely different way than before, and it gave me an opportunity to consider what has and hasn’t worked for me in the past which I could incorporate into my present work.
BardVERSE: What advice do you have for writers at Bard?
Kenaji: When writing an essay that is mandatory, be sure to write about something you are interested in. You discover that essays and writing assignments are easier to do when you find interest in the subject you are writing about. There are ways to find what you like in your essays. Open your mind to look for what you like in readings that you may not like right away.
BardVERSE: Whose writing do you love to read in or outside of Bard?
Kenaji: Personally, I like reading about basketball opinions out of school. The website “persources.com” is a website that publishes opinions on most sports. Their different and sometimes outrageous opinions encourage readers to have and be confident in their own thoughts and opinions. The site does not have a huge following, but its fans support and love its writers.
BardVERSE: What topic would you like to write about but haven’t yet?
Kenaji: I would like to interview a person on an important topic and be able to write and interpret his or her ideas. I enjoy picking people’s brains and seeing what is important in their minds. It gives you some perspective on your own thoughts and gives you knowledge that you might not have had.
BardVERSE: What do you find most challenging about writing?
Kenaji: For me, the most difficult thing about writing is conveying my ideas into writing. Sometimes when listening to people, an idea sparks in my mind and it sometimes is difficult to word those ideas or disagreements. When the ideas are hard to explain, then there is an element of difficulty that I do not like and, in turn, it becomes more difficult to share my ideas with others. It has become easier in time, and it will continue to if I keep putting in effort.
BardVERSE: Which classmates’ writing do you admire and why?
Kenaji: I feel like an unsung hero in my class is Marci’a Johnson. Her ideas are well thought out and she takes her time when explaining her view points. Her perspective is usually different from the class’s overall, which is refreshing in otherwise neutral conversations. Every time Marci’a shares her idea, she gets many infamous Bard knocks.* She is a good writer, and I like listening to her judgement on topics.
*Note: At Bard, we knock on our tables or desks as an expression of surprise, agreement, or support for ideas shared in the classroom.