By Sabrina Del Piano
November 6, 2018
For Syeda Saad ’19, doing the bare minimum is just not an option. “I like to have my hand in everything,” Saad says. As an English and Journalism double major and a creative writing and women’s and gender studies double minor— writing is a major part of her life. When you add her position as editor-in-chief of The Daily Targum, it’s clear that the writing world is not just a small part of Saad's life; it is an essential part of it.
“When I was younger, my elementary school teachers would tell me to stop writing such long stories, but I couldn’t help it,” Saad says. “I just loved the idea of creating something—these are my words on the paper. They are helping me to make sense of the world, and I can see from the pages that I am doing something.”
These days, Saad’s preferred genre is poetry. "During sophomore and junior year, whenever I had a thought at 3 a.m., I would write it down and I kept going from there.” Saad says poetry also helped her work through harder times. “I draw more inspiration from sadder things. Making sad things sounds beautiful takes real talent.”
Like other English majors, Saad’s love of reading influenced her passion for writing. Poets like Tyler Knott Gregson and authors like Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Sue Monk Kidd are among the many voices who sparked Saad’s curiosity to write and also to learn about feminism and intersectionality.
“It's important that we learn about each other's struggles,” Saad says. “Take Zora Neale Hurston—she writes from a black woman’s perspective, but there are multiple layers to the story. She writes about race, but she shows that identity shouldn’t only be defined by oppression.”
“As a young Muslim woman, I felt inspired and reassured to know that other women are struggling and yet choosing to move forward,” Saad says. Motivated by these stories, Saad also decided to take action, and so she interned at AmeriCorps Vista through the Jersey City Youth Works program for two years.
Jersey City Youth Works is a college prep program that focuses on high school juniors from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, allowing students to intern at Fortune 500 companies like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. “Jersey City has large under-resourced population, so it was great to be a part of an organization intent on building opportunities to succeed,” Saad says.
Now in her senior year, Saad, like other senior English majors approaching their last semester, is attempting to combine all of her interests into one career path. “Right now, I am in a really weird place where I don't know where I’ll end up,” Saad says.
Confident in the skills she has been able to hone as a newspaper editor managing a daily newspaper and as a college student with a challenging course load in Rutgers English, Saad says that she isn't worried about her future. “No matter what career you go into, you need to know how to communicate with people,” Saad says. “I believe that regardless of your field or discipline, if you can get your thoughts on paper in a clear manner, you can succeed.”