My OUS Story: Elizabeth Nacion

After exploring numerous majors throughout the various colleges here at Villanova University, student Elizabeth Nacion, from Piscataway, New Jersey, looks to her second semester of junior year with a full plate. She is pursuing majors in both English and Peace and Justice with a minor in Communication as well as a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric, all while preparing for law school applications. 

Elizabeth first visited Villanova her sophomore year of high school, intending to follow in her older brother’s footsteps and apply to the business school. But on her tour, she learned all about the arts programs. “That was the first time that I heard about any programs related to English or Communications. My tour guide talked about how amazing the English professors are here and it made me really interested more in the arts and sciences side of Villanova,” she explains.

“I feel I have literally thought about every major or college that we have”, Elizabeth reflects. She actually came into Villanova her first year as a nursing major, who had also been considering business. Her interests then took a different turn, as she considered pursuing a major in Communication. She came to find her love for English after taking a creative writing class. “I really enjoyed my experience with my professor. I talked to her about the program, and that’s sort of where I made my shift”, she recalls. 

“I started taking both English and Peace and Justice classes, and the mix of those two I feel was what really solidified my interest in doing social justice-related work,” Elizabeth explains. “I always wanted to do something where I knew that I was actively helping other people but I always put lots aside because I had a lot of imposter syndrome about what I was capable of.” She serves as an example that it may take trial and error, as well as exploration and confidence in yourself to find your calling. 

“I feel that I’ve had a different experience than other people in the sense that every year, I kind of find a new part of myself. I’m not uncomfortable, but I never get too comfortable in one space, because I really like to get to know all different types of spaces and people.” She has been involved with the acapella group Measure Up, the Filipino American Student Association (FASA), and has found home within her majors. Acapella has given her some of her favorite experiences at Villanova so far, such as performing with her group for the first time on Halloween. “I didn’t even realize that music could be done during the pandemic, and I felt really lucky to be able to perform.” FASA has helped her to get in touch with her culture and meet a lot of her really good friends. 

Elizabeth has enjoyed her time studying within her majors and is really fond of the people within them. “It’s been really amazing to see all the connections that I’ve made just within my program and to feel that sense of comfort and home within the classroom,” she reflects. She also mentioned how her classes have helped her feel more prepared for both the LSAT and the law school application process. “The professors are amazing. They really set you up to not just be a good writer, but a really clear writer. I found that a lot of my writing has changed to be much more brief and direct,” she explains. “I think everybody has reading comprehension skills, but I think these classes really teach you to look between the lines and learn how to break down arguments and create them too.” She not only feels at home within her programs but in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in general. “There’s such a friendly vibe and I can talk to anyone in any other major. There’s definitely a sense of community,” she shares. 

Before her time at Villanova is up, Elizabeth hopes to try new things, as well as make an impact. “A lot of second-semester juniors might not say the same thing, but I’m still super open to joining more extracurriculars or trying new things,” she comments. In terms of her impact, she has a wonderful goal. “As a person of color and being a part of the small community that is the minorities, I want to make an impact by guiding younger students of the same background. I’d want to not only speak up about mental health due to systemic issues but also make changes within it.”

Looking to the future, she plans to apply to law schools in the fall of this year. “My dream school would be Fordham. My brother is working as an accountant in New York as well, and it’d be really cool to move out there together.” She is also interested in Rutgers, as it’s close to her home in New Jersey. “I think just law school as a whole is my dream.”

However, law school isn’t the only thing on the horizon for her. Another track she is considering is a program called Teach for America, in which she would work in an underprivileged community as a teacher. The program pays a salary, as well as helps to pay off student loans. “I feel that you get a more hands-on experience serving other people and understanding the experience of marginalized students,” she says. 

Post law school, Elizabeth’s primary interest is working in immigration law. “My parents immigrated and I’m the first generation in my family to be American, so it’s a really important issue for me, and I think it’d be awesome to work in immigration policy and change certain laws,” she explains. “I’m also really interested in being some sort of family lawyer, potentially working on custody or divorce cases. I would want to work with more underprivileged communities that I know can’t really pay for a lawyer,” she elaborates. All she has learned through the Peace and Justice program at Villanova has helped her form her thoughts about what kind of lawyer she aspires to be.

Although looking to work as a lawyer, Elizabeth has always had a passion for writing. “I saw myself as a writer for a long time, but I decided to go to law school because I still feel really young in terms of my life experience, and I want to experience a career where I will be exposed to many different types of people and stories. I want to have lived so much life that there would almost be not enough novels to fill up all the books in the world”. She hasn’t, however, lost any of her passion for writing and telling stories. After being unable to intern the summer before her sophomore year due to COVID, she decided to start a public creative writing Instagram account (@curatedbyeliz) featuring much of her poetry. She’s gained much traction since the account’s creation and has even collaborated with an online art gallery for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) creators called ASD Gallery.  

“My favorite part of Villanova so far has been the people. Not only the other students and the friendships that I’ve made but also, my professors. I think that everyone here cultivates this community of excellence, and it’s not competitive. I find that other students inspire me and they don’t intimidate me because everybody here has a different dream and it’s amazing,” she reflects on her college experience thus far. 

When asked to provide advice to her fellow Villanovans, Elizabeth said this; “Just be open to changing, whether that’s your plan or who you’re friends with. I think it’s really easy to get stuck in a box, but when you know that you can break out of that box, you will.” She feels following this advice is what has made her college years so formative for her. “Being open to experiences that can change you is the best advice that I could give to someone.”

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As a Staff Writer for Villanova University’s Office for Undergraduate Students, freshman Gabrielle Piccirilli shares the stories, experiences, and accomplishments of the students of Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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