Like millions of college students, Zara Roy began her first year of college during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. She said this time was life-changing, it was also the start of something bigger, or the realization of it.
Roy, a psychology major, initially considered a career in clinical psychology until she realized that wasn't what she was meant to do. During her time at the University of New Mexico, she found that she already had something she loved but just hadn’t realized yet.
“I always took it for granted that I was a good writer,” Roy said. “It's something that has always been told to me and I'm like, ‘Okay, whatever.’ It got me through English classes and then getting into college. I just realized that the classes that I loved the most were the ones that I got to write in, in any capacity.”
Roy started to explore her writing through Limina, the premiere nonfiction student review of UNM. Despite her first meetings being over Zoom, she said she found a community there that understood her.
“It was all over Zoom, which was weird, but I guess most of my relationships (were) over Zoom that year. It felt good to have a group that I could really get closer with,” Roy said.
While she felt comfortable in Limina from the beginning, Roy said she hadn’t fully considered writing as a career path until she was asked to edit content for the first time.
“It was the first time I really felt like I was trusted as an adult or as a person with taste to evaluate pieces of work and writing, and see what I liked and what I didn't like. And it made me feel like I was good at it, and I could get better at it,” Roy said.
For her own writing, Roy prefers to “go for a more, sort of punchy, fast-paced style,” and to get to the point of her story. Playwriting has become her favorite style and has developed into a career path for her. She also said that romance is her favorite topic to write about, however, not the traditional kind.
“I've always had a strange relationship with love and I like stories that portray the weirdness of romance,” Roy said.
Roy served as the 2022-2023 Editor-in-Chief of Limina during her senior year after serving as the managing editor her junior year. EIC was a role that she said despite feeling like she was thrown into it allowed her to rise to the occasion.
“I learned so much by just having to get it done,” Roy said. “You're never going to do everything exactly the way you want. Nothing's ever going to go exactly to plan and that's okay, because you may have a specific plan but sometimes things change.”
Marcela Johnson, a student majoring in journalism and mass communications, worked as managing editor for Limina while Roy was EIC. She said Roy has always been helpful towards her staff and has a wonderful, professional relationship.
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“It's been super great to work with her because she's on top of things. She understands what's going on and she's really clear about communicating what she needs,” Johnson said.
Johnson will act as EIC for Limina for the 2023-2024 school year and said that the moment she showed interest in the role, Roy began guiding her.
“As soon as I expressed interest, she started showing me the emails that she has to send out, going through the budget with me, going through the different things she has to do, at least on an administrative level,” Johnson said.
She said that Roy had a very calm presence as EIC and knew how to handle the role and everything that came with it.
“I really admire how calm she is,” Johnson said. “I think she’s great … She just took things as they came and then figured it out. She would talk it through. She was really good at delegating tasks so that they weren't stretching themselves too thin… But she was also really good at anticipating problems.”
Since she couldn’t publish her own work in Limina as an editor, Roy wrote for Conceptions Southwest where she published two pieces of creative writing. Her creative process and work is character driven — the style she prefers the most.
“I like to start with one sort of person, or one type that I find intriguing, and just sort of build them out and let the plot develop around,” Roy said.
Limina was not the only writing-related organization Roy joined her freshman year. In the span of her three college years, she served as the news editor and copy chief for the Daily Lobo. While the Lobo differed from her creative writing environment, she found how the two styles, journalistic and creative, can complement each other.
“At any rate, you're still shaping a narrative in either one and I think the Lobo has actually been really helpful in that respect,” Roy said. “Talking to real people is such a big part of writing for the paper and it’s hard to not capture the reality of being a person, and experiencing real person things when you're quoting people or talking to people and just relating to that experience.”
Roy also stood out as the Lobo copy editor as she received the “Outstanding Editing Staff Member award” for the 2022-2023 year. She said that it takes a specific type of person to be copy editor and she has enjoyed her time on the role.
Roy said she’s planning to take a gap year before she considers attending graduate school to get a masters in fine arts. In the meantime, she plans to move to Brooklyn and work on her playwriting and acting in New York City.
Annya Loya is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @annyaloya