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Sydney Stepp


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Hi! I'm Sydney and use she/her pronouns. I love to read, write, and perform in my school's theatre productions. Someday, I hope to earn an MFA in creative writing, or a doctorate in literature--or both. Recently, I have found myself reflecting on politics as well as the arts, and discovering the relationship between the two. My work focuses on feeling entrapment in the world: as a young queer person, as a new participant in American politics, as an artist in an age when it is increasingly difficult to be seen as "different." I live in a rural town in southern Tennessee, and while going to college is not uncommon, leaving the area (and having the finances to do so) is uncommon. I currently attend the University of Mississippi and am part of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. I am majoring in English with a focus in creative writing, and am minoring in Southern Studies.


University of Mississippi

Bachelor's degree program
2023 - 2027
  • Majors:
    • English Language and Literature/Letters, Other
  • GPA:

Loretto High School

High School
2019 - 2023
  • GPA:


  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • English Language and Literature, General
    • English Language and Literature/Letters, Other
    • Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Writing and Editing

    • Dream career goals:

      I would love to teach English and literature while also working on short story collections for publication.

    • I reset escape rooms and greet guests, assist them through the games, and act as social media advertising manager. I also count and sort money.

      Escape from Warehouse 1
      2020 – Present4 years



    2022 – 20231 year


    • Humanities Tennessee

      Creative Writing
      2019 – 2023
    • Loretto High School

      Mockingbird, The Revolting Teens of Sherwood
      2019 – 2023
    • School literary magazine

      The Golden Typewriter, Vol. I, The Golden Typewriter, Vol. II
      2020 – 2023

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      The Shelter, Inc. — I volunteered at the Crossroads thrift store that benefitted the Shelter, Inc.
      2022 – 2023

    Future Interests





    RonranGlee Literary Scholarship
    "Like Being a Good Minister" by Big Jesse Yawn, from "Jook Right On" by Barry Lee Pearson "Blues is a deep, deep feeling where you let out how you really feel inside through a song. What I do, or when I go on stage to do a performance, this is a normal setting. Anything that's inside of me, from days gone by even, it all comes out through a song... the good, the bitter, the ugly. It all comes out. Consequently, when I'm done, I'm usually just like a man that's been born again. I'm completely relieved of all frustrations. Oh they will reoccur, most of them, but temporarily I'm floating. I don't care. Well, I try to reach the people in the audience. Being a blues singer is almost like being a good minister or preacher. You got a congregation out there, we'll just say for the benefit of what we're saying, an audience. You try to reach somebody. If you don't reach them, I think you defeated the purpose. But if you can communicate with them, and they're feeling what you feel even if it's not as deep as what you're feeling, that's it; you've accomplished something. What I'm gonna say now if a little far fetched but, a preacher has a job to do. So do I. In some weird way or the other I feel like a lot of times in singing to audiences I reach them, and very possibly relieve them of some of their bad feelings, ill feelings. I've had people say, "I just feel better all over. What you said was what I wanted to hear and I just feel better about it."" In his story “Like Being a Good Minister,” Big Jesse Yawn discusses his role in the blues community and equates it with being like a pastor in a church community. Yawn uses religious language throughout the text to drive home the notion that he is similar in role to a religious leader. He says: You got a congregation out there, we’ll just say for the benefit of what we’re saying, an audience. You reach somebody. If you don’t reach them, I think you defeated the purpose. But if you can communicate with them, and they’re feeling what you feel even if it’s not as deep as what you’re feeling, that’s it; you’ve accomplished something. Yawn’s words evoke a specific scene, one that most Southerners are familiar with: a passionate preacher at the front of a crowd, gripping the pulpit with both hands and a Bible splayed in front of him. Women in the front rows hold tissues to their eyes, men yell “Hallelujah!” and “Amen!” every chance they can. The preacher’s words connect with them; the emotions that the preacher creates resonates within the crowd and moves them to action. Similarly, Yawn’s blues playing does the same thing: instead of preaching a church sermon, he performs a concert or live set; instead of using a sermon, he uses lyrics–singing about healing from heartbreak, taking control of circumstances that seemed impossible to come back from. Yawn moves people with his music, and relieves them of “some of their bad feelings.” One could find Yawn's comparison that relates the blues to the church ironic, due to the fact that the demographic of people who were strong patrons of the church did not historically overlap with the group of people who listened to the blues. This irony gives the comparison more meaning and weight because Yawn relates his position to a position of power over people who would not like the type of art he makes. x Forever 21 Scholarship + Giveaway