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Student Turns Military Experience Into Piece of History

Published on October 24, 2013 by Tiffany Coleman

(MERIDIAN) What started out as a class assignment has turned into a piece of permanent history for Sunday Sunderlin. The veterinary technology program student at Broadview University-Boise campus is now a published author. A short story she wrote for her composition class last year now appears in the ninth volume of “Creative Quill,” a book dedicated to student authors.

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Sunday Sunderlin, a veterinary technology program student at Broadview University, became the Boise campus’s second author to be published in Creative Quill, a book dedicated to student authors. Her story about her experience in the U.S. Navy started as a composition class assignment.

“I have been a writer since high school,” Sunderlin said. “I write all of the time. It helps me clear my brain. And since my program is a science-based environment as opposed to a creative, art-based environment, this is my outlet.”

Sunderlin was approached by Dr. Laurie Bower, one of the campus’s former composition instructors, after presenting her story as a descriptive essay in class. Called “A Fluid Finishing School,” Sunderlin reflects on her life growing up in a protective middle class neighborhood in an Idaho town, and then suddenly finding herself signing the dotted line in a U.S. Navy recruiter’s office at the age of 17.

“I was a naïve child from Idaho adapting to a new set of circumstances,” she said. “A lot of us never had a chance to grow up, yet we were trained killers. I mean, we never had the experience of paying rent, budgeting, or stressing about bills… yet we were given the responsibility of having someone’s back.”

She writes, “At first it was like I had fallen through a frozen pond. The navy was cold and harsh, full of curse words and aggressive behavior that left within me a burning sense of unease. For the life of me I did not know how to swim. I could barely tread water or catch my breath. My journey was now an adventure, but I was not seated at the helm.

“The English language is so beautiful if you just put a little bit of effort into it,” Sunderlin said. “When you write, you can make words beautiful. All of my best pieces seem to be the moving, stirring, romanticized version of things… which is okay. Just don’t ask me to write a research paper, though. UGH!”

This is the first time Sunderlin has been published, and it is the second time a Broadview University student has been published in “Creative Quill.”

“I never aspired to be a published author, so it’s definitely a plus,” she said. “I don’t consider it a goal, but more of an achievement. It’s definitely a random college experience.”

Sunderlin will be sharing her experience at the campus’s Open Mic Time on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in the campus commons area. The event, which starts at 3 p.m. and ends at 4 p.m., is an opportunity to share poems, stories, and have fun with Mad Libs. There will be food, prizes and information on how to become published in the next edition of “Creative Quill.”

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