Wanita Jones '18

Creative Writing and Communication Science and Disorders double major finds outlet through poetry.

Asked to write a Valentine’s Day poem, Wanita Jones ’18 delved into her past and compared it to her present. What emerged became a blend of light and dark, an ode to two places that have profoundly shaped her experience—her hometown of Richmond, Calif., and the University of Redlands.

Her poem, “Redlands, the Artist,” reflects on her childhood memories and compares them to the rhythms of the Redlands campus. It mentions the “harsh vibes” of her hometown where she once “danced to the melody of gunshots and crying mothers.” In sharp contrast, it describes Redlands as a safe place, where she can “sing along to the collective force of support from current and past Bulldogs.”

Writing has been a faithful outlet for the young poet, who has penned prose and inner thoughts since the third grade, when her great-grandmother gifted her with her first journal. “I wrote about the most random things—my teacher, what I ate, and how I thought boys were mean,” says Jones. “I’ve filled quite a few journals since then. It allows me to express whatever I want and not get judged or told to be quiet.”

She started writing poetry in high school, and spent some time performing her work as a spoken word artist. When it came time to choose a college, Jones decided to attend an institution as far away from Richmond as possible. Her great-grandmother, however, wanted her to stay in California. So the two made a deal: Jones would attend Admitted Students Day at Redlands and, if she liked anything about the school, she would enroll.

The campus captivated her and Jones decided to attend Redlands. Since then, she has passionately pursued multiple activities. Along with her studies, the Creative Writing and Communication Science and Disorders double major, participates in Delta Kappa Psi, Greek Council, LUST (Listening and Understanding Sexuality Together), and the Bulldog Phonathon. She has also enjoyed creative writing workshops and studying abroad through the Salzburg Program.

“I had never been out of the country before,” she says. “Through the Salzburg program, I was able to travel to 13 countries within three months. I will forever be grateful for that opportunity.”

After graduation, Jones plans to become a speech language pathology assistant to get some experience in the field before moving on to graduate studies. She also hopes to present workshops in juvenile detention centers to help troubled teens express themselves through creative writing.

Read Jones’s poem, “Redlands, the Artist.”