Amber Maczaczyj

Choosing a college is often a long, painstaking process for high school seniors. But for Amber Maczaczyj ‘12, receiving a Hodson Trust scholarship made her decision to attend Washington College an easy one.

In fact, Amber didn’t even visit the campus before she arrived for freshman orientation. Like many first-year students, she felt a little overwhelmed being on her own in a strange place, especially one she’d never seen before, but she also knew from the beginning it was a place she wanted to stay.

“I remember walking by the library, where those big trees are, and I sat there for awhile just thinking how pretty it was,” Amber said of her first impression of campus. “It didn’t really seem real.”

Amber, who intends to major in English with a business minor, quickly found her niche at WC.

“It’s a big change, but it’s a good change for me,” she said. “It’s small and personal, and I’ve found a lot of people I connect with.”

She met many of those people at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, where she works as a program assistant, helping to plan readings and events such as the upcoming graphic narrative festival and taking care of the house itself.

She enjoys her work so much she hopes to turn it into a career. “I didn’t know what to expect, and I didn’t expect to love it,” she said, “but I love what I’m doing and I look forward to it.”

She also enjoys spending time at the Lit House with her friends. “It’s a really cool place to be,” Amber said. “It has a really great atmosphere. You’ll hear people talking in German, someone else will be sitting in another room reading Chaucer – there are a lot of different worlds coming together.”

She’s also had exposure to different worlds through her involvement with the Lit House Service Committee. She participates in a prison writing campaign sponsored by the PEN American Center, a literary and human rights organization, raising money to send books to inmates. In the fall, she volunteered at local Garnett Elementary School where she helped children with their homework.

In the next few years, Amber hopes to determine exactly what she wants to do in the future so she’ll be prepared for the world post-graduation. For now, though, she’s content to soak in her college experience, from Dr. Gillin’s English classes to Birthday Ball to spontaneous dance parties with her friends.

“It’s been really great,” Amber said. “It took awhile to adjust, but I consider it my home now.”