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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.
As the saying goes, you must walk before you can run, and that’s exactly what Julia Fields did. Before she set out to make her mark on the world, she first made her mark on her residence hall. Fields, who graduated this month with her degree in English literature, was a community assistant on Arizona State University's Tempe campus for most of her Sun Devil experience.
“My favorite part about the CA job was learning about all my residents’ different backgrounds and stories and what we could learn from each other,” she said.
As a member of the English department’s Committee of Altruistic Research and Experiences (CARE) not only does Fields have experience programming events for residential students but also for the larger communities that surround ASU.
Though Fields is unsure how she will further her impact now that she’s graduated, she is prepared to move in whatever direction life leads her.
“I will write, work and figure out how I want to make my mark in this world, be it a career, through additional education or potentially working within the humanities,” she said.
As she prepared to close the chapter on her undergraduate life, Fields spoke with ASU Now about her journey to and through Arizona State University.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: It was at my orientation to come to ASU during my senior year of high school that I had my "aha" moment.
I had applied to ASU as a theatre major, but when it came time to make my schedule I had cold feet. I thought about the other classes that brought me joy in high school and realized I had a passion for English that I had always been apprehensive to share.
I decided to take a leap of faith and switch my major before the first day of classes had even begun. I didn’t know then the journey that was beginning or the passion I would find for a language I thought I had known my whole life.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I was selected for the ASU Leadership Scholarship Program, and that changed everything for me. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to find a group where I felt like I belonged or was a part of something larger than myself and before I knew it, I had that before the first semester was even over.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?
A: While at ASU I learned that everything and everyone has something to teach you, but you get to decide if you are willing to listen.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: I had numerous professors teach me some of the most valuable lessons, but perhaps my most impactful lesson came from Dr. Maureen Goggin. She taught me that I have a place in higher education, even when I have doubts about myself or my capabilities — that I get to define what I am capable of.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Brene Brown said, “So be afraid, but do it anyway.” And this has completely changed my way of thinking. I would say to those still in school that it is OK to be afraid, to be fearful of the future, of your potential, of failing the test, but you can never let any of those fears be reasons not to try.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: My favorite spot on campus over the years has been McClintock Hall. I lived there my first year as well as my third year as a student staff member, and it has grown a sense of home for me. I feel like I had some of my largest periods of growth and had my views of what it means to be a part of the community as well as a leader challenged and molded.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I think there are many issues that could be tackled with $40 million, but I would start with food and water inequity around the world and other large-scale environmental issues.
Written by Alexis Young, Sun Devil Storyteller