Jessica Ramtahal ’20 released her first formal publication, daffodils in the garden on Amazon in July. The self-published book of poems speaks of the trauma that Ramtahal has faced and how she used the upheaval in her life as an inspiration.
“daffodils in the garden is about my journey through trauma and all that comes with self-reflection, discovery and love. Each chapter represents a chapter of myself that has heavily impacted who I am today,” says Ramtahal, an English major with a double minor in Writing Colleagues and Africana Studies.
Through the chapbook, Ramtahal hopes to show others that they are not alone and to promote a more open dialogue surrounding issues such as sexual assault, encouraging others to speak up about their experiences in an effort to empower others.
‘“Write what you are most afraid of, it’s the most universal,’” says Ramtahal, quoting poet Rupi Kaur, who she looks to for motivation as a young writer. “I hope that with this collection of poems, others will embark on their own journey of discovering their true self and loving that being.”
The chapbook, Ramtahal says, also helped her develop a solid foundation in writing and led her to be named the 2018 recipient of The Lillian E. Collins Endowed Scholarship.
At Hobart and William Smith, she is an America Reads volunteer, secretary of Sankofa: the Black Student Union and a member of the Engineering Club. Additionally, through the Collins scholarship, she studied abroad in Ireland.
The Collins Endowed Scholarship was established by the family and friends of retired HWS staff member Lillian Elizabeth Williams Collins, who served generations of students and the community during her more than four decades at HWS. The Scholarship asks that academically and financially deserving recipients show a demonstrated commitment to HWS and the Geneva community through both their service and leadership, and come from underrepresented communities.