Meet Sophia Anderson, a seventeen-year-old cat enthusiast from St. Paul, Minnesota. She loves day-dreaming about conquering the world and has a fascination with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. At any given moment, she can most likely be found drinking sparkling water with her nose buried in a book or laughing with friends. Her life-long dream is to write novels in New York City and empower young women everywhere. This past summer, Sophia joined hundreds of fellow high school students in the Pratt Institute PreCollege Program. Tune in below to learn about Sophia’s summer at Pratt, her inspirations and passion for writing, and read one of her most recent works.
Pratt SCPS: As a student in this summer’s Pratt Institute PreCollege Program how would you describe the experience of living and studying like an art and design college student?
Sophia: Living and studying at Pratt was one of my best summers yet. I was constantly surrounded by amazingly talented people. You walk through campus and there’s this wonderful, artistic vibe that inspires you. I never felt like I was in competition with anyone else, but studying here pushed me to be a better writer. Part of it is that you can tell everyone takes their work seriously, so it creates a productive environment. The other part was my own passion for writing. Outside of class, the people are really welcoming and fun, always open to talk or start an art project together. I had a lot of friends who weren’t even in my concentration, but we would still hang out on the weekends or after class. Free time was perfect for that because you can leave campus and head into Manhattan or stay in Brooklyn and explore. It helped me understand the subway system, which is saying a lot because I’m terrible at directions.
Pratt SCPS: What valuable lessons were you able to gain from your time at Pratt and what part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most?
Sophia: Being at Pratt helped me learn that there are many ways to be a great artist, and that everyone has a different approach. Coming here by yourself and being surrounded by all new people kind of forces you out of your shell in the best way. Personally, I’m not super extraverted or introverted, but I never felt alone. I had friends from different states and countries and they taught me a lot. My roommate, who is from California, was in graphic design and we had so many adventures. We still talk every day. On top of meeting new people, just seeing my peers’ work showed me that we can all learn from each other. I would read someone’s piece and be like, “Oh my gosh, her imagery is amazing. I need to get better at that.” And that night when I did homework, I would focus on imagery. I think it’s important to know before you come here that you’re not going to be the best, but that’s a good thing. You’re here to learn and get better and you will do that if you’re open to it.
Pratt SCPS: As a blossoming creative writer where do you draw your inspiration from? What motivates you to create and write?
Sophia: There are so many things that inspire me, but I think the interactions I have with other people is the first thing that comes to mind. Every relationship I have has impacted me somehow. I’ve had good friends and bad friends, I’ve been let down and, unfortunately, let other people down. I’ve just grown up in general. Those are pretty universal. If I can take those experiences and turn them into something that helps someone else or turn it into personal growth, that’s important to me. Especially if it helps other young women. We’re constantly pitted against each other, told that we have to be better than each other and then belittled if we don’t prove ourselves “worthy.” There are paradoxical standards shoved in our faces, and it damages us from a young age. But if I can make another girl feel more supported through my writing one day that would make me beyond happy.
Pratt SCPS: Where do you see yourself in a couple years from now? Do you envision yourself studying creative writing and pursuing it as a professional career or do you envision yourself exploring other areas that interest you?
Sophia: Writing has always been a huge part of my life. I feel most comfortable writing. But I also have about eighty other passions and I don’t want to limit myself to one. I can envision myself being a New York Times Bestselling Author or being editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. I could end up running a sustainable fashion business or leading a political group focused on women’s reproductive rights. I have big dreams but regardless of what I choose, I want to improve the lives of other people. I want to be challenged. There are a lot of problems with this world and I’m not going to spend my life standing still.
Lover written by Sophia Anderson
“I laid my heart out on the streets of Fifth Avenue.
Right in the middle of a crosswalk.
Red pumping heart, healthy and strong.
I laid it out hoping you would walk over it sometime.
See, I knew other people would spend the day scuffing at it:
Businessmen with trophy wives at home,
College students with art supplies weighing down their steps,
Tourist families holding maps in sweating hands,
Models and performers moving with music in their limbs.
I’m fine with that; they can stomp on my heart if they want,
It’ll still beat until you come upon it.
I don’t know where you are, but I know I’ll meet you.
Dark hair and long legs, I think. Definitely a business major.
I laid my heart out in a crosswalk in Brooklyn.
7th Avenue, by Prospect Park.
I hope the families walk over it on their way to have a picnic.
I hope they don’t speak English and I hope they hold hands.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. I know you’re there.
You’ll talk about it lightly but treat it well,
crack a joke but feel a lot on the inside.
I know you already.
You’ve got stars in your brown eyes and a smile always.
I know you like writing too and I know you can draw a bit.
You probably want to create a cartoon like Rick and Morty.
I like that show.
We’ll get on well, argue sometimes because we both like being right but we’ll be okay because we love each other more than that.
You’ll have blonde hair and freckles, which is a little rustic,
but you’ll be a city kid at heart.
I laid my heart out on a crosswalk in SoHo.
I hope fashion designers walk on this one.
Stiletto heels with red bottoms and Burberry purses.
I hope the wealthy bloggers glide over it with their ballet flats.
My heart will like it there; I made sure to place it by a gluten free bakery so it’ll always smell like cinnamon and overpriced coffee.
You’ll trip over it, then pick it up because it intrigues you.
You’ll be a high school dropout who spends his time filling his sketchbook with street style.
You’ll create a whole line after me, your muse, whose favorite color is red because it’s bold like I want to be.
I left my heart in three separate crosswalks in New York City.
All of them will be picked up, one of them will stick.
There’s an apartment on 7th Avenue with my name on it.”
To learn more about the PreCollege Program at Pratt Institute visit the SCPS website.