Voice of a Graduate
By Kyleen Bromley, master’s degree candidate, English
To be honest, I was pretty lost before attending Chico State. And by lost I mean I literally didn’t know what to do with my life.
I had reached out to the English department and was quickly greeted by professors Kim Jaxon and Rob Davidson with some suggestions on programs I could take to expand my first master’s degree which was in secondary English education. I had hoped to maybe teach at Butte College, but that was as much as I knew.
“What do you want to do?” he kept asking.
Through blubbering I uttered something about teaching, something he knew I was qualified for but needed more experience. He strongly suggested I continue on to get my masters so that I could get the opportunity to teach classes. To be honest, he actually said for me to “[expletive deleted] or get off the pot” and it was the greatest advice I had ever been given.
I was pushed harder in this master’s program than I had expected and it helped me grow exponentially.
I have been able to take part in two fall symposiums and two spring symposiums. I taught composition and beginning creative writing. I had the opportunity to submit my work to the California State University systemwide writing competition where I won third place. I have worked for Watershed Review and have been an intricate part of the magazine’s publication. I am currently the vice president of social affairs for the English Graduate Student Council, and I even have a radio program at Chico’s homegrown radio station at KZFR called “Writing on Air” where we read the works of students and unpublished writers who submit.
Bromley notably credits her time at Chico State with helping her to overcome aimlessness and alcoholism.
After completing my creative project for my master’s in creative writing I can tell you I have received an education and experience far and beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. Yes, that’s what I would say, Chico State made my dreams come true.
But above and beyond all of the amazing opportunities this university has given to me, there was the support and love I received from the faculty and staff.
In summer of 2016, I admitted that I was an alcoholic and went into recovery. Getting sober while trying to finish a master’s degree and teaching two classes was definitely not easy. My life at the time was consumed by thinking about the next drink because I didn’t know how else to handle the pressure I was putting on myself.
It wasn’t easy to admit my alcoholism to teachers who saw I was struggling. When I put out a creative nonfiction piece about this struggle, there wasn’t even a flutter of an eye. Instead, there was this magnificent understanding for what it was I was going through. Thinking about this now brings tears to my eyes. I cannot explain the gratitude I have for what this program and the faculty and staff have done for me. They believed in me when I could not believe in myself.
Today I am sober and hopeful for my future. Chico State has given me the experience and confidence, and the education I need to succeed in my career. I have been told to continue on with my education and that, if needed, I have recommendations waiting for me.
The support for my success as a student in and outside of the classroom has been far beyond anything I could have ever asked for. I know a lot of it was my willingness and desire to succeed, but truly, the English department at Chico State really truly has given me the most amazing experience. Words get caught in my throat when I think about the gratitude I have for my time here.
Kyleen Bromley will graduate Thursday, May 18, with her master’s degree in English. She earned her master’s in education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has served as editor for Watershed Review, a writer for Upgraded Living, and program manager of a radio program dedicated to the work of new, unpublished writers. Currently applying for teaching jobs in Butte and Yuba Counties, she aspires to continue working in the academic field in any capacity.