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Student Spotlight: Ellis Golden

Ellis Golden (she/her) is a sophomore at Bennington College and is studying to be a middle-school English literature teacher. Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, her works center around themes of racial injustice, homophobia, and classism. She currently has an album (Personal Personas), a collection of illustrated horror stories (Black Ink), and a poetry book (Transitions) available for purchase. She is currently working on her second album and a new collection of poetry.

In her poem, “Someone stole a 20 cent package of ramen from me, and I almost dropped out,” Ellis Golden discusses how adjusting to online school during quarantine exposed class disparity among students in a light not apparent when physically present in the Bennington College community. 

When on campus, Golden states, students are able to live in similar housing and eat similar meals, all in the same physical environment as each other. This turns the campus into a bubble, a bubble where class disparity is not apparent at first glance. It is a bubble that, when popped at the start of quarantine in March 2020, revealed the discrepancies and inequalities of the student body’s various class allocations. 

The ramen thievery mentioned in the title of Golden’s piece happened while on campus, but its succeeding messages were the result of various observations made in the midst of Zoom classes and community dissemination during quarantine. She points out the different obstacles students encountered; working high-risk jobs, inaccessible internet and online materials, taking care of ill loved ones, the psychological toll of isolation, and financial instability are a few among the many.

Receiving online homework assignments in the thick of this crisis evoked a feeling of indisposition in Golden. She says, “I saw all these differences, and at the same time while all of these things are happening, we have to do homework? It’s so meaningless, it’s unimportant in the grand scheme of things. So I wrote that sitting outside on my porch, and it was almost my way of venting.”

The poem is not only an outlet for Golden’s frustrations with the various obstacles surrounding this crisis, it is also a mode of catharsis for readers. It allows readers to share in the experiences embodied within the piece, while also educating them on how to stay conscious and respectful of what others are going through in these trying times. She says, “It’s important to know where you stand and also be aware of the fact that that may not be the same place where other people stand.”

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