Growing up in Powder Springs, Georgia, Kazrin Novus always loved to write and create stories. Their love for storytelling started when they would journal new vocabulary words with their mother. Novus struggled with spelling, so together the two of them would create stories for each letter of the word. Years later, Novus’s passion for writing evolved into a love for “record keeping.”
Novus says they have a bad memory, so they journal to remember important days or moments of their life.
“I think it’s really important because when you look back at your life, you tend to focus on the negatives,” said Novus. “But when you have pages full of all these positive little moments you forgot existed, that’s really beautiful to reflect back on.”
They also shared their thoughts on journalling as a collection of ideas. If someone says something good, they write it down.
“If my mom says something inspiring, I mark it,” Novus said. “Growing up, if she said something I didn’t like, then I would scribble how that is a terrible adult rule. Today a lot of what inspires me is a collection of ideas.”
As a freshman Novus initially started in STEM. They had taken AP science classes, earned good grades, and generally liked the sciences. When Novus began their first class, they quickly realized they hated it. Admittedly, they failed their first major test—a jarring experience for an A student.
After working with their professor and eventually earning higher scores on tests, they still felt something was not right. Novus says they had to seriously reevaluate what they really wanted to do.
“I reverted back to things I always found comforting, and that was writing,” said Novus.
At the time, their favorite class was an introductory English course taught by a graduate student. What stood out to Novus most about this graduate student was their willingness to work with students.
“They encouraged us by quoting the line from Ratatouille, ‘Everyone can cook,’” said Novus. “Well, everyone can write. We just need to hone our craft. That’s why I switched my major to English.”
Apart from academics, Novus is highly involved in UGA student life. They serve as a Student Campus Minister at the Presbyterian Student Center, contribute to The Chapel Bell and QStone, engage in Hispanic Student Association events, and are both a Pride Center Ambassador and student employee.
One of Novus’s favorite aspects of working at the Pride Center is being the first face students see when they visit.
“Before I got engaged, I remember doing these ‘drive-bys’ around the office,” said Novus. “I’m just generally a nervous person.”
It took Novus a while to get connected. They feel like this helps them sympathize with people visiting for the first time.
“When someone nervously pokes their head in, I laugh because that was me!” explained Novus. “And I want those people to know they can come hangout and I’ve made many friends being that inviting person.”
Novus strives to help put fellow students at ease. They think that the older people get, the more cliquish they can become, or they become afraid of how they might be perceived. For their part, Novus aims to be friends with anyone.
Novus’ work at the Pride Center overlaps with their interests and their identity. For example, when they first started, they were tasked with organizing a new library. The Pride Center library had no organizational system. Back home, Novus had previously volunteered at their middle school library. They spent many hours organizing books. To this day, Novus returns to visit the librarian there. The Pride Center library project was both a dream and a challenge.
“I just thought, ‘I’ve done this before, this should be easy,’” said Novus. “Since I had this experience, the task of organizing an entire library was interesting because I got to invent its organization system.”
Novus never had much of a personal library, but they enjoyed writing quotes and snippets of random second-hand books their mom would gift them or check out from the public library. Books have always played a special role in Novus’s life.
“It feels like every book I have read is mine in a way,” Novus said as their eyes and fingers scanned the spines.
The Pride Center Library is a quaint room with floor to ceiling shelves filled with both fiction and nonfiction works.
“They are largely donated,” Novus explained, “Because of that, some of them have really touching notes meant for their previous owners. It’s neat to reflect on how that book was originally passed from one person to another—now they passed it on again to help readers here.”
As Novus continues playing an active role in the UGA community, they enjoy spending free time with close friends, roller skating to good music, and feeding the turtles at Turtle Pond. Upon interacting with Novus, it’s apparent they have a deep commitment to cultivating a sense of belonging and acceptance among their peers. They positively influence the Bulldog community, and one day, look to make a big impact in the larger global community.