Organizational Powerhouse Malaena Caldwell – The Oakland Post
When Maleana Caldwell’s study abroad trip was cut short due to COVID-19, she didn’t expect this setback to help her find a new passion.
Caldwell is a senior at Oakland University preparing to graduate in late April 2022. With a major in French language and literature, she has set her sights on studying abroad in France for a semester in 2020, in the hope to find what she wanted to do. post-graduation during the trip.
“I come from a single parent family…and so when I realized I was going to study abroad I thought, ‘I’m going to have to apply for every scholarship humanly possible’, and I did. “, says Caldwell. “I think I applied to nine and was lucky enough to get six. [Because of] that, along with my scholarship that I receive when I leave high school, I was able to pay for all my study abroad experience out of my own pocket without having to take out a loan.
While earning scholarships to pay for his trip was one of Caldwell’s greatest accomplishments, this feat made it even harder to have to go home mid-semester. Despite this disappointment, the dozens of scholarship essays she had to write led her to her second major: creative writing.
“When I got home I felt confused and hurt and all these complex feelings, and one of my French teachers said to me, ‘I really think you should look into writing – you’re a very strong writer,’ and I didn’t believe her,” Caldwell says.
Although she was convinced that she was not a good writer, when she returned home, the study abroad office offered a re-entry scholarship asking students to write about their experience leaving study trips abroad due to COVID-19. Caldwell also won this award and she took her teacher’s advice.
Caldwell became editor-in-chief of Oakland Arts Review (OAR) and has been writing seriously for two years now. She plans to win it Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University (OSU).
“Although [I’m] sad about my studies abroad, I honestly feel like I needed my world and my expectations for the life I was about to live to crumble to really make way for what I wanted to do,” says Caldwell. “Everything started to fall into place very quickly.”
In addition to her plan to earn her MFA, Caldwell is a semi-finalist for the Fulbright scholarship — a US government program that sends ambassadors abroad to increase global interconnectivity. Participants conduct research, pursue higher education or teach English abroad.
She has applied to be an English teaching assistant for a secondary school in France and hopes to pursue this for a year before attending OSU.
Besides the constant scholarship requests and double majors, Caldwell remains busy with her involvement in the OU comcommunity. An “organizational powerhouse”, she also works as a counselor for study abroad students, she is the secretary of Sigma Tau Deltashe is a cheerleader and she is a member of many organizations of Phi Sigma Sigma to several honorary societies.
With three to-do lists on the go at all times and his best friend Google Calendar, Caldwell manages his busy schedule and, most importantly, prioritizes school.
“I value my time so much,” Caldwell says. “When I’m at work, I’m at work, but when I come home from work, I don’t think about work. When I’m at cheerleading practice, I’m at cheerleading practice. When I leave cheerleading practice, I don’t think about joy. I think that’s the only way – compartmentalization – to be able to manage a very busy schedule, because letting things bleed together will only make it more overwhelming.