The thing about Sage that made it perfect for Xavier Rene Aleman ’19, they say, is that no one ever seemed to say no.
“It was always positive reinforcement. It was, we’ll figure it out.”
So they went for it. Went for it all.
They participated in the Honors Program. Majored in both English and Theatre. Wrote a play, found a place on campus to stage it and then directed it with a fellow student. Took every writing course in the catalog and interned at WOOC 105.3 FM.
“At first,” they admit, “I wasn’t sure about Sage. I wasn’t sure about myself. Then I fell in love with the place. It became a real home. The teachers were so caring, and it seemed like everyone always had your back.”
“What happens is that you become part of the Sage culture,” they add, “where it’s about looking out for one another and collaborating.”
But while Xavier says that on the one hand they were encouraged to do whatever they wanted, they were also being grounded.
“I learned about the hardships of the creative life, and how to deal with that,” they say. “I had to work hard to do all that I did, so I learned to work hard.”
At the moment, they are at work on a screenplay and are making plans to apply to the highly-regarded Iowa Writers’ Workshop. To pay the bills, they are selling windows.
Xavier feels confident that one way or another they will accomplish their goal to have a career in the creative world.
They point to Tonya Moutray, a professor of English and Honors Program director, as one of the key figures at Sage who built their confidence and stoked the flames of their ambition.
“Tonya knows how to push people,” they say. “She sees the positive in someone and brings it out.”
That’s invaluable for someone like them with the mindset of – bring it on!