Student uses writing to inspire, express emotion

One of the best sources of inspiration is the many forms of writing: books, poems, etc. Kaylee Duran enjoys writing and uses it as a way to inspire others. Writing is important to her as a hobby and to express her emotions.

“I write mostly for fun,” Kaylee said. “I haven’t gotten into a competition yet, but I’d like to do that. My favorite type of writing is definitely persuasive, it’s fun to see how you can change people’s minds with only words. I do a little bit of fiction and poetry in my personal time.”

Although she has certain types of writing she prefers, she doesn’t have a specific style of writing she uses, instead allowing her emotions to guide her writing.

“I write based on my feelings and whatever I’m in the mood for,” Kaylee said. “If I’m happy, I write something happy. If I feel sad, I write something sad.”

Kaylee uses figurative language in her writing to express her feelings and experiences, which English teacher Lisa Prejean has noticed.

“As a writer, from looking at her poetry, I see that she likes to use a lot of imagery,” Prejean said. “She focuses a lot on flower metaphors, but writing about things that are personal and she’s passionate about, is important for her.”

She uses her love of poetry and metaphors to inspire her as she works on her Extended Essay (EE), the 4,000 word essay required for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB).

“Mrs. Dominy and I are both working on her EE with her, and she was probably inspired because she found a book of poetry,” Prejean said. “At the time, she didn’t know it was a book of poetry, but she read a little blurb about it, and it sounded interesting to her. It includes a lot of metaphors, so reading that poetry helped inspire her.”

Writing is more than just a hobby for Kaylee; she also sees her writing as a way to help others, transforming her writing into a source of inspiration.

“I think she definitely could inspire others with her writing,” Prejean said. “She has a unique perspective, and if she can put that perspective out there for people to see and read, then she can touch their hearts. She got inspired after we read the poetry of Sylvia Plath because she uses a lot of flower metaphors. Kaylee was touched by one writer and now she would like to do that same thing for someone else.”

Kaylee has found many sources for the inspiration she needs in order to pursue her writing.

“I was really inspired by all my English teachers and all the books I have been reading, so that’s definitely a key motivator to get me to write,” Kaylee said. “Mrs. Prejean has also inspired me to write more and to see what’s wrong with my essays and wording, so I can fix everything so my writing can improve.”

Kaylee benefits from her classes because of several attributes she possesses.

 “I would say that as a student in my class she’s fairly inquisitive,” Prejean said. “She’s also open to trying new things. She’s not afraid to put herself out there and try something she’s never tried before or take a risk, which I think is an important thing in education.”

Though she is a good student, Kaylee still faces challenges as she prepares to leave high school.

“I think we’ve seen this struggle she has with all kids,” Prejean said. “She’s struggling to get back into the normalcy in class and getting used to the rigors of IB, which all juniors go through, so I think a lot of her struggles are struggles that other students would understand.”

By putting extra work into her classes, she has found ways to overcome her struggles from the increased expectations of IB.

“She’s able to overcome this struggle because she’s a really hard worker who is not afraid to ask questions,” Prejean said. “If she doesn’t understand how to do something, she’ll reach out to me. She’s not afraid to voice her opinions because she’s okay with people not agreeing with her. I think she’s overcoming what we’re all struggling with by being persistent and moving forward, which I think is all you can really do at some point.”

Kaylee also struggles with expression in her writing, but she faces those struggles by asking for help.

“A struggle I’ve had with my writing is the way I want to express things, which is really hard for me,” Kaylee said. “I go to Mrs. Prejean for consideration, notes, and just to see if I need any revising or editing in general.”

As she strengthens her weaknesses, Kaylee has been able to improve her writing and get more satisfaction out of her work.

“As a writer, I see her growing and getting better with everything that we do in class,” Prejean said. “As far as her creative writing, I just love it when kids take things that we’ve done in class and then are inspired by it and write creatively as a result of that. I see her taking writers that she likes, and then trying to emulate that, and later she’ll be able to extend that with her own personal style.”

Kaylee has enjoyed more success with her creative writing, especially with poetry.

“As a writer, I think my biggest success so far is my poetry,” Kaylee said. “I have two separate Google Docs I use for my writing. I have a personal one where I write more for myself and the other one is more for school. Using these, I see where I can go to improve my writing and see how other people can relate to my poems.”

Kaylee creates works that she can be proud of and share with others as her writing improves.

“A writing piece I especially like is this one poem that brings out more of what I went through as a child,” Kaylee said. “I hope to inspire people to feel the same way if they went through similar things as me and to know that everything will be okay.” 

With her goal of being an inspiration to others through her writing, Kaylee plans to continue writing throughout her life.

“I would definitely want to write in the future,” Kaylee said. “I probably will do it after high school as a healthy way of coping. I would like to publish a book or anything for that matter; it would be very fun.”

Kaylee understands that writing is a rewarding experience and encourages others to seek those rewards for themselves.

“I hope more people can see the benefits of writing,” Kaylee said. “It’s a healthy way to let your emotions out if you have no one around you because it really does help, and writing is really fun anyways.”