Instructor: Terri Giuliano Long



Student Showcase



I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the talented students at Boston College for the past ten years. I truly believe that my students have taught me as much as I have taught them. I am constantly amazed by their wisdom, their insight and their grace.

In Fall 2005, I taught a creative nonfiction writing class called “Friendship: Gift and Challenge.” Throughout semester, my students and read and discussed the many rich and various forms of friendship—friendships between acquaintances, casual friendships, family friends, and of course best friends. We talked about loving and harmful or toxic friendships. We discussed what it means to be a friend, how to prevent a friendship from ending, and what to do when a friendship must or does end. My students’ personal essays grew out of these readings and discussions. At the end of the semester, I offered to post their favorite essays on my website. Winners were selected by their classmates.

My students enjoyed having the opportunity to read the polished drafts of the essays they'd read in workshops. The end-of-semester essay contest has since become something of a tradition.

The winning student essays are rich, poignant and beautifully written. These moving pieces explore deeply personal issues that affect us all and ask us to think, to consider, to reflect. Please read and enjoy!

Spring, 2007

“Addiction and the Aftermath”
by Kerri Doherty

Kerri Doherty is 21 years old, born and raised in Boston, MA.

She is a senior at Boston College, and enjoys the summer weather, beach, dancing and anything fun.  She enjoyed Terry Long’s class and is glad she took it.

I chose to write my memoir on my mother and her hardship of drug abuse.  This was a tough essay to write because I had to reopen wounds that were caused by this sickness.  I hope people can read this and relate it to their lives somehow, and maybe it will give them encouragement to keep going, and realize one day they too may be able to write about it.

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Spring, 2007

“Keep Your Hair Neat, Keep Your Head Up”
by Dongning Bai

The first novel I read in English was Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club. I like it right away. The stories were familiar to me, the characters were familiar to me – they were like my neighbors’ telling their stories. And I said to myself: “I like these stories and I can do the same.” I want to tell my stories just like Amy Tan tells her stories of Joy Luck Club.

Only after more than a decade later, I took my first writing class and started writing my stories in English. Writing is hard work, but fulfilling.

My essay is about a very special person – my dear grandmother, who loved to hear and tell stories. Her love and care of me had charmed my childhood and enhanced my love for reading and writing. She had endured the dreadful years of Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1976. She had suffered the craziness of the movement and inhuman treatment during the dark and long ten years, when books were burned, colors were wiped out, music were banned, and people were wrongfully persecuted. However, suffering is not the focusing point in my essay. Her endurance, her dignity and her persistence of making life to its fullest had brought light, color and sound to our own world. She showed me that no matter what happened in life, we should always keep our hair neat and keep our heads up.

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Spring, 2007

“Delta Apple”
by Mike Blanchard

BIO Coming Soon!

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Spring, 2007

“Unconditional Love”
by Courtney Culnane

BIO Coming Soon!

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Spring, 2006

“22/F/Boston Seeks Perfect Romance”
by Gaelle Nguyen

Gaelle Nguyen was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and has lived in Massachusetts since 1998. She is currently a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College, majoring in Psychology. Thanks to a nomadic childhood and a passion for travel, she speaks French fluently, and dabbles in both German and Vietnamese. She plans on pursuing a career in an undetermined healing field, and has a special interest in people and relationships. Aside for her studies, Gaelle enjoys post-rock bands, and can be often found at the Middle East Club in Cambridge, MA.

On “22/F/Boston Seeking Perfect Romance”

I wrote this essay to commemorate my twenty-something years spent searching for a significant other. The essay developed simultaneously as my story with Steve unfolded, and it inspired me to think about the ways in which the Internet affects our notions and expectations of relationships. I continue to be intrigued by the intensity of a relationship that can exist between two people who have never stood face-to-face. How is it possible for one to feel closest to the person who is physically farthest? Those questions still remain unanswered for me. I wish to thank Steve for showing a tremendous amount of patience, and for his easy-going friendship. 

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Time Hurries On
by Jeff Beardsworth

Jeff Beardsworth is a senior in the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College and an associate in the university's Financial Services department. A lifelong love of literature and learning has driven him to pursue a career in the field of higher education. Jeff aspires to someday publish his own writing and to share his love and knowledge of literature as a teacher or a professor of English. Aside from his work and his studies, Jeff enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Theresa, and their Golden Retriever puppy, Zoe. He plays the guitar very badly and likes to pretend that he can still compete on the basketball court.

"I originally wrote this essay for myself. Changes in my life that occurred naturally with age had me thinking about old friends and what types of turns their lives had taken. I reached out to several of them, and my efforts were met with varying degrees of success. The letter I received back from Joe was the most memorable and influential result of my attempts to reconnect. As the essay unfolded, I discovered that there was something within it that an audience could relate to. Who among us has not seen a friendship slip away that he wishes he could have held on to? Writing this piece has helped me to realize the importance of friendship in my life and of the work that is necessary to maintain a friendship. I hope that reading it will do the same for you."

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“Cheers To That”
by Amanda Montesano

Amanda Montesano is a senior in the Boston College Lynch School of Education. She is studying English and Human Development and is also currently enrolled in the Fifth Year Program for a Masters in Higher Education Administration at Boston College. Throughout her college years Amanda has worked in the Student Development Office, and has been a peer advisor career counselor at the Career Center. In light of these activities, Amanda hopes to pursue a career in Higher Education, possibly working in the area of Student Development. In her spare time Amanda enjoys running, piano, reading and volunteering. She has participated in a number of campus service trips and plans on going down to the Biloxi area twice this semester to help with Hurrican Katrina Relief efforts.

This story was written after I spent a semester abroad in Bath, England. My trip to Bath came at a time that was very difficult for me, as my grandma was chronically ill in the hospital. Although my life in Bath physically separated me from the problems of home, her illness and my family situation were constantly on my mind. Living in Bath was quite an eye-opening experience, as I was jointly faced with a world of freedom, as well as a whole new set of responsibilities. Residing in a flat with seven unknown Americans, studying in the city centre, and student teaching in the English school system induced a fair share of trials and tribulations. However, my true test came in a different form- the death of my grandmother. I was not able to return to America, so this was a very difficult time for me. This writing piece actually materialized as my professor, Terri Long, asked the class write a story about a friendship or relationship. My first piece was about losing the relationship with my grandma, and my second ended up being about my friendship experience in Bath. Upon revising my second piece, the current story evolved, which was in a way, the mix of the two. It was a friendship that brought me through this hardship and made me do what my grandmother would have wanted me to do- "live my life to the fullest". Although my time in Bath had its ups and downs, overall, I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

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