Class of 2020 Outcomes: Cynthia Schmidt Finds a Future in Fiction Writing

Cynthia Schmidt
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With Commencement just around the corner, future High Point University graduates are already preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2020:

Name: Cynthia Schmidt

Hometown: Shrub Oak, New York

Major: Double major in human relations and English writing

Post-graduation plans: Schmidt received multiple graduate school offers and committed to her first choice graduate school, Sarah Lawrence College, for their Master of Fine Arts in Writing program, with a focus in speculative fiction. 

How HPU helped you get there: “I have always admired all the opportunities High Point University gives its students. From speakers, seminars and events, to classes and grabbing coffee with professors, every moment I attended HPU was a moment where I could choose to make myself better than I was the day before. The people are the greatest resource for personal development that the university has to offer, and I know that I have been irrevocably shaped by my time at HPU to be the person I am now and the person I am continuing to work to become. The Office of Career and Professional Development was a resource that was graciously incorporated into my curriculum as a human relations major. From resume building, to interview tips and sourcing internships, this department was incredibly useful in preparation for life beyond the classroom.”

Most impactful mentor at HPU: “I’ve had several mentors at HPU and truly each of them has exponentially impacted my development professionally and personally. Dr. Joey Fink in the History Department inspired me with her passion for her field. Her enthusiasm was infectious and made me want to learn more about what we were studying beyond the basic requirements. She was a compassionate and fair professor whose teaching style I adored. Doug Brown in the Theatre Department amazed me constantly with his mastery of acting. I was never once made to feel like an outsider despite being one of the only non-majors in theater classes, and the way he used his expertise to help all of us grow has stretched to all areas of my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Dr. Nathan Hedman of the English and Theater Departments absolutely floored me with every lesson he taught. I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on the Scandinavian Literature, Theatre, and Film Maymester lead by Dr. Hedman, and it truly and unequivocally changed my life. The passion he displayed, mixed with the intellectual depth of his class, made me want to become a professor, which is the career path I intend to pursue. Dr. Charmaine Cadeau and Dr. Jacob Paul in the English Department both spent countless hours reviewing my writing and helping me to perfect my craft to the best it could possibly be. They encouraged me to enhance my talents and pursue my dreams of being a writer, and they were instrumental in helping me take concrete steps to achieving that goal with my acceptance to the MFA Graduate Program in Writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Each of these professors, and more I didn’t name, have aided me in becoming the person I dreamed I would one day be.”

Most impactful moment at HPU: “The most impactful moment I’ve had at HPU is nearly impossible to narrow down. To pick one, I would say that it would be my experience with the Scandinavian Literature, Theatre, and Film Maymester class lead by Dr. Hedman. I took the course at a time of tremendous personal upheaval, and it gave me the opportunity to use the pain and clarity of transformation to start my journey to become the person I want to be and begin taking control of the direction of my life. The class showed me the possibilities in the world and what I am capable of if I apply myself. This class was where my life started to turn around.”

Advice for underclassmen: “My advice for underclassmen is to recognize what a gift you’ve been given. Realize the opportunities in front of you that are begging to be taken advantage of. Understand that being in college gives you the chance to take control of your life and lead the kind of existence that you want – not what your parents or siblings want, not your teachers or coaches, not your friends–YOU. And make it a good one.”

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