Mizzou PhD Student’s Op-Ed Lands in the New York
Samantha Edmonds, a graduate student studying English in the University of Missouri’s College of Arts and Science, claims it was dumb luck that got her recent article, “Cheer Up Extroverts: We Will Crowd Again!”, published in the New York Times. But after talking with her for even a few minutes, it’s clear that her creativity, writing talent, and knowledge built through hard work is truly what launched her piece into the national spotlight.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are telling people to stay at home and practice social distancing. While introverts joke about how they have been preparing for this their whole lives, extroverts like Edmonds are left longing for the social interactions that give them energy.
“As an extrovert, being isolated is horrible,” Edmonds wrote. “But it is a necessary — and temporary — step toward stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”
Edmonds usually pens pieces of fiction. Yet she’s spent the last two years stretching her creativity to craft nonfiction pieces based on personal experiences.
“I specifically love the kind of mass gatherings that are extremely dangerous right now,”
Edmonds said. “I love big crowds, think 600 people or more. I wanted to write about how much I love it. I actually think of it as my love letter to crowds. It’s my way to express that it's okay to love and miss this thing. If you do, you are not alone.”
Edmonds writes as a freelancer for other publications, so she has experience working with magazine editors. When the New York Times put out a call for submissions, she jumped at the chance. Edmonds says she’s happy with how it turned out, with one exception. There was a part of her letter that editors cut that she wants to share.
“It's truly physically dangerous for large numbers of people to be together right now, but I don't want us to forget that, at some point, that won’t be true,” Edmonds said. “The pandemic won’t last forever, and we shouldn't be afraid of each other. Crowds are not always going to be dangerous and human touch can be restorative.”