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2016 Convention Stories

Finding a Family at Convention

Sierra BaileySierra Bailey
Eta Theta Chapter
Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX

As a freshman, I remember watching all of my friends leave for the 2015 Convention. To be honest, I was a little bitter—I still had another literature class to take before I could be inducted into the society. In a way, it felt as if my family had left me behind.

Story PictureThis year, when I boarded the early morning flight that would carry my chapter to Minnesota, I was secretly terrified of attending convention and presenting my paper. The tables had certainly turned—I’m an adventurous person, but I didn’t know how to feel about leaving the comfortable familiarity of Wayland’s English department. However, as I stepped through the Hyatt doors, the warmth of a calm but eager chatter from fellow literature lovers melted away many of the fears that had lingered around my head like wisps of breath wafting on the chilly Minneapolis air.

Panels over Shakespeare, Victorian fiction, and Charles Dickens coaxed me into joining the enthusiastic presenters and attendees. Soon, I found myself discussing the morals of Henry V with strangers, sharing my thoughts about the duality of Jekyll and Hyde with friends, and enjoying a critical essay over Oliver Twist, a novel I have yet to read. I easily fell into a comfortable routine, attending panels and forgetting my fears of not being good enough to present a paper at a national convention.

Story PictureBy the third day of Convention, the day of my presentation, I started to feel as if the entirety of the Society had become my family. True to Convention’s theme, I began to realize I had truly found my home. During my presentation, I stumbled over a few words, which had been my greatest fear. My heart was beating out of my chest, and it felt as if my paper would never end. Yet, I also wished it would continue because I finally understood that I didn’t have to be perfect to be a part of the Sigma Tau Delta family. Together, we are constantly learning and improving; and, I now know that literature and writing is my lifelong passion—something that will continue forever, even if I am scared of failure.

As I left my first convention, I realized literature is my home and those who share a love for words are my family, no matter where we are in the world.

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