Carol Stoneburner “When I got that award I thought, ‘Yeah! Now I’m motivated!’ It’s the thing that was missing all those years in business.”

“I’d made a half-hearted attempted at college in 1972,” says Carol Stoneburner. “But it just didn’t take so I spent the next 15 years working.” She was involved in record distribution and sales but found, “I’m just not the kind of person who can charge more for something than I paid for it; a tragic flaw if you’re in business.” Carol kept up a program of voracious reading in the sciences and research journals. “And then one day it dawned on me,” she says. “Thinking was my long suit and it was time to go back to school.”

Working a forty hour week in the SMC mailroom, Carol began—cautiously—to explore literature. “And I soon found that what gave me the most satisfaction was writing.” An essay she wrote won the CSEA award for outstanding Letters students. And since then, writing has become a whole different story for Carol.

“I’ve been so surprised and gratified by the responses I get from people in my classes,” she says. “It’s one thing to be recognized by your teachers. But when people I study with come up and say, ‘Hey, that story really meant something very personal to me!’ Well, that’s a whole different ballgame.”

Carol says that working at SMC provides her a unique view of how the college works. “Without the talented staff we have here, it wouldn’t be the place it is,” she says. She plans to continue writing and hopes to use it to address one of the greatest problems she discerns in society. “Our country is going to have to become more literate. The mass media discourage us from thinking,” she says. “I have a young friend who’s 25 and has never read a book,” she continues.“And that is a horrible situation.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.