Olivia Whiteley Required of us a Song

Dandelion hair stabbing itself into the sky, purple dress rocking back and forth like a drunken sailor, the girl adventures into the grassy corridor between the castles of suburbia. Bushes scale the was-once-white siding of two modest, two-story homes. A rustling of leaves thunders, like a tribal drumbeat, into her ears; lightning strikes.

Paw forward, the villainous neighborhood cat emerges from the bushes, hissing a territorial claim. The girl pauses. Makes eye-contact with the cat.

And hisses back.

Aggressively kind. Kindly aggressive.

My name is Olivia. I am an undergraduate student at BYU majoring in Communications with an emphasis in print news-media. I write to fight the good fight.

My writing is an attempt to shove the world into a glass jar and examine it; it is a map to navigate contemporary issues with a religious worldview. I weave a tightrope between sacrilege and holy that can only be walked by an idealist college freshman at 2 a.m.

I write because this life requires us to sing; I choose to "sing the Lord's song" in this "strange land." As I walk across my tightrope, I hope the resulting vibrations create music angels would be proud to sing.

* * *

I intend to pursue politically relevant long-form journalism. Attempting to mirror the nuanced yet clear, poetically poignant work of Ta-Nehisi Coates, I will grapple with unsolvable problems fairly. I would like to experiment with solutions journalism; I profoundly believe in connecting the written word with action. I would like to learn to create and incorporate multi-media into my articles.

Currently, I am creating opportunities to deepen my understanding of political activistism and how I can best help God's children.

"The movement is a rhythm to us/Freedom is like religion to us."-Common

  • I am the Co-President of BYU’s recently restarted chapter of Amnesty International.
  • With the help of professors from several campuses, I am also in the beginning stages of establishing a national student coordinating committee that will connect existing youth activist organizations.
  • I am a delegate representing Finland on BYU’s Model United Nation’s Team at the National Model United Nations New York Conference.
  • I was a pollster for the Utah Colleges Exist Poll during the 2016 General Election.
  • I am a competitive slam poet, recently winning an award at a slam at The Wall and previously competing in the 2016 Utah Arts Festival on the South Salt Lake team.

I don't have an exact life plan; I know I will attend graduate school and work. Hopefully, writing will be a large part of both experiences.

To write well you need to know how to think. The ability to think critically is developed through experience. My goal in life is to collect as many experiences helping people, navigating the world's problems, and becoming like Christ as possible.

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