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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Micaela Daney

Photo by Ohana Sarvotham.

Micaela Daney `22 was flattered, but perplexed, when I told her she was nominated for the Scarlet & Black Senior Issue. She was even more flattered when I told her I had nominated her myself.

Daney majored in English. She’d always loved to read and write, and because of that, she began writing a novel in the spring of her second year. Recently, she completed a first draft of 80,000 words. After she completes several rounds of edits, she said she hopes to publish the book via a traditional publication process.

“But like, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I mean, I could very easily fail. Because like, everyone fails at different things,” Daney said.

“But,” I said, “a lot of people do succeed.”

Daney said ENG 205: Craft of Fiction stands out to her as one of the most memorable classes she took at the College.

“There is literally nothing better than making up stories — and having people judge them.” She laughed. “It’s kind of exciting, because it’s like, what will people think? What will people say? You really hear what people actually think.”

Daney said in the English department that she’s never had a professor who hasn’t been knowledgeable and thoughtful. She said people from Grinnell in general is what she’ll miss most.

“I think of all the people who I’m going to miss and also all the times when I’ve needed help. People have helped me whether they be professors, or other students who have helped me and listened to me or given me a second chance.”

Daney ran for the women’s cross country and track & field team her first two years at Grinnell. When she went home to San Jose, California, during the pandemic, she contracted a non-COVID-19- related illness which affected her for multiple months.

At first, Daney said Head Cross Country Coach Sarah Burnell `14 was resistant to letting Daney join the team again because she didn’t feel Daney was ready. But Daney convinced her to let her do separate workouts and act as team manager until Burnell thought she was ready to compete.

“I’m really grateful to her that she was willing to listen to me and bend her own rules and give me the opportunity to compete,” Daney said. “That really meant a lot to me in my last year.”

After she graduates, Daney will move to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Area and live with her boyfriend, John Osler `20. While there, she plans to work while editing her book.

Once in the Twin Cities, she said she’s excited to volunteer more and to stay conscious of the environmental and human rights impacts of her purchases. As a Grinnell student constrained by both money and time, she said she sometimes purchases items less expensive or convenient, potentially buying from “fast-fashion” brands accused of paying minuscule wages to employees in factories outside the U.S.

Daney said she thinks frequently about ethical interaction in U.S. and world economy. She said she doesn’t want to proceed through life and realize that her choices have supported trends and businesses she views as damaging.

“That’s something that really changes as you leave college. You have a lot more power in what you choose, especially if you’re living in a city.”

And the last thing Daney will remember after she leaves Grinnell? A sense of absurdist humor she said she views coming from the College administration.

“I will say there is some humor from the administration,” she said. “There are always things I will find bemusing, and funny. … The very performative comedy aspect of this school, that makes it almost feel like it was like a four-year long performance. Like, a really abstract piece of performance art.”

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Nina Baker
Nina Baker, Staff Writer
Nina Baker is a fourth-year Russian major with a Russian, Central European and Eurasian Studies concentration from Lakeville, Minnesota. When she's not reporting for The Scarlet & Black, she loves taking long walks, reading, and learning foreign languages.
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