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Exploration of Student Talent through the Creation of “For Someone Out There”

Anyone who goes to college knows that it is mainly about classes – higher learning, homework, and, ultimately, earning a degree. However, sometimes it is nice to speak about students’ hobbies – what they enjoy doing outside of class. I, for example, am a writer. I have been for as long as I can remember. While at college at Southern Miss, I was able to finalize and publish my second novel, titled “For Someone Out There.” I am extremely happy with how it turned out. Although the inside of the book was independently done by me alone, I had help from my good friends and fellow Southern Miss students.

I am a writer; I have never been an artist. In fact, I have never taken an art class higher than a middle school level in my entire life. That is why I am extremely lucky to be friends and roommates with Lauren Wheeler. Lauren also attends Southern Miss, where she is also in the Honors College. We have been friends for a long time, and Lauren has been a talented artist for even longer. She helped me by designing and illustrating my previous book’s cover. Graciously, she agreed to help me again with the making of “For Someone Out There.” My first book is titled “The ‘Destiny’ Theory,” and the cover was mainly created digitally. Lauren and I, both being slightly technologically challenged, had a bit of a struggle. This time around, Lauren decided to illustrate the cover on paper first, using watercolor to get the painting exactly where she wanted it. After this, we had the drawing professionally scanned, and I edited the file so that it would fit the guidelines for the cover of my novel. Always a tedious, yet rewarding process, we typically struggle together until we have a product that we are both happy with.

(self-portrait done by Lauren Wheeler)


After the inside was edited and the cover was properly formatted, I thought it would be fun to have my friend, Sarah Toepfer, take photos of the novel in our campus library. Sarah is also an Honors Scholar at Southern Miss and talented photographer. She also was happy to help and spent part of her busy class day taking photos of me with the book. I could not be happier with how the photos turned out, and I’m incredibly lucky that I had such talented people helping me with this process. From the time it was written to the time it was published was about six months.

Cliffs of Moher in Ireland photographed by Sarah Toepfer

Even though college is primarily about learning in a classroom setting, there are plenty of impressive things done by students outside of the classroom. Writing is a fun hobby, but I doubt it would have gone any further than that without the help of my talented friends. The finished product of “For Someone Out There” is available on Amazon, and I’m proud to say that it is the result of three dedicated Southern Miss students.


Written by Kelli Kirkland

Kelli Kirkland is originally from Slidell, Louisiana and lives part time on the Southern Miss college campus. She has a passion for writing and has two books currently available on Amazon!


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