From writing short stories to the editor-in-chief of the Stroud Courier, Natalie Irula encompasses all of the qualities that make for a creative and vibrant leader.
Irula, a bright 22-year-old from Randolph, N.J., is currently a junior at East Stroudsburg University pursuing a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and a minor in Philosophy.
“I wasn’t expecting to become the editor-in-chief,” Irula said. “In fact, all I was doing at The Stroud Courier was completing my required club participation. But, eventually, I grew to love it and when the opportunity rose for an editor to move up in the ranks, I went for it.”
Irula expressed that she felt excited, nervous, and a little bit scared about accepting the position, but was mostly hopeful that she would do a great job as the new editor-in-chief.
She has acquired an extensive background in writing and has built a strong love for the arts.
Irula expressed that during her free time, she enjoys writing short stories, painting, making clay sculptures and singing.
“I have been making up stories for as long as I can remember,” Irula said. “I took painting and sculpting up a couple of years ago when I was looking for new outlets for my anxiety. Now, I hope to open a small, online store on Etsy where I can sell my art.”
Irula is very open about her mental health experiences and it has become something she is very passionate about.
She revealed that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and finds herself wavering back and forth between the lines of being extroverted and introverted.
“Mental health is a big part of my focus,” she said. “As a child and young adult, coming to terms with my mental health struggles was exceedingly difficult. It needs to be normalized. It needs to be talked about.”
Irula reflected on her experiences as a child, revealing that she struggled with English and turned to writing to better express her feelings.
She said, “Since then, I’ve always had a special connection with writing as it helped me find myself and interpret the world at a time that seemed really hard. I used my writing and fantasy worlds that I could create as a coping mechanism during hard times in my life.”
But writing hasn’t always been what Irula wanted to pursue, she originally started her college career as a Chemistry major.
Irula said that it quickly became obvious that Chemistry wasn’t for her, so she continued as a Liberal Arts major at the County College of Morris where she discovered a love for Philosophy and debate.
“When I had to make the decision to transfer to ESU, I felt I had to make a choice,” Irula said. “I chose to pursue something that I love and that I felt I could get excited about, even though I had no idea what I wanted to do with it at the time.”
Now, just months into her new role as the editor-in-chief, Irula is faced with an immense challenge: keeping the paper up and running during a pandemic.
“My main goal is making sure that the paper keeps consistently publishing stories in a fluid manner,” Irula said. “I want to lessen the burden on writers and editors in light of all of the added stress that students are facing.”
Irula revealed that The Stroud Courier will continue to post on social media and hopes that those posts, coupled with compelling stories, will increase reader engagement during these times of uncertainty.
And her hopes for The Stroud Courier are reinforced every time a new publication goes out.
Irula expressed that her favorite part of being the editor-in-chief for the Stroud Courier is the feeling of accomplishment she gets every week when stories are published.
“It’s really empowering to see everyone come together to make it happen,” Irula said.
She expressed that it’s important to do the things that make you happy and inspired, and if you are doing things because you think it makes you look good, then you’re doing it for the wrong reason.
“All of your actions, decisions, things you’re involved in, the people around you: they make up who you are,” Irula said. “So choose wisely!”
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