Elizabeth McColloch ‘17 on Her Journey to Publishing Creative Non-fiction Book

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Elizabeth McColloch ‘17 is an author who recently published her book, Discover What Matters. In it, she explains the importance of “finding meaning, hope, and love in college.”

Growing up in the Bay Area, she shared, “I didn’t realize that you don’t have to do it all and that you don’t have to compare yourself to everyone to always be the best. I wanted to show the dark side of that kind of pressure.”

At M-A, McColloch was involved in a variety of activities. She said, “I played lacrosse and tennis, was part of the Ravenswood Tutoring Club, and started the Impact Club, which was a Christian club that allowed us to meet and talk with other students of faith.”

McColloch’s journalism memories.

McColloch was also part of M-A’s journalism program and worked her way up to become an Editor-in-Chief in her senior year. She said, “I loved the opportunity to write, but also to learn leadership skills and have the creativity to work with other students to create something unique and original. I really appreciated the independence and responsibility that was given to students in journalism. Interviewing people for stories allowed me to get to know different people who weren’t in my classes.”

She shared, “The thread that connected all these things was my love of spending time with people, whether we were serving together, working towards a goal, or creating something beautiful. The relationships I formed inside and outside of the classroom made my experience at M-A special.”

McColloch and her parents at Boston College.

After graduating from M-A, McColloch went to Boston College and studied business, specifically operations management with a minor in global public health. She shared, “I loved that Boston College was very rigorous academically but really cared for the whole person and formed us into students who will serve our communities.”

During her sophomore year in college, she worked as a resident assistant in a freshman dorm. There, she realized that she loved to give advice and encourage others. She explained, “I would tell them stories from my experiences and the lessons I learned. I’ve always loved writing, and after graduating from college, I realized I could combine that with my love for encouraging others by writing a book.”

After McColloch graduated from college in 2021, she struggled with her health, both physically and mentally. During this difficult time, she devoted herself to writing. This first took the form of a blog called “Crafting a Life of Love,” which kick-started her advice giving and storytelling. On the blog, she said, “It was a fun way to practice writing and putting my stories out there. I talk about how we can live lives of love everyday.”

McColloch’s book.

Then, in the spring of 2022, she began drafting the early stages of her book. On the process of writing her book, she said, “I call it ‘a labor of love’ because I feel like I put my heart into the book. I wanted each chapter to start with a story from my college experience, because I think stories are powerful and a great way to connect with readers. Then the chapter goes more into advice for students, and it invites readers to reflect on what matters most to them.”

McColloch’s advice for M-A students: “Really go out of your way to get to know people from different walks of life and connect with them. Take the time to listen and learn other people’s stories, because they will touch your own heart.”

McColloch’s advice for aspiring authors: “Find people who will support you along the way, because sometimes you won’t be motivated or will feel discouraged. And, tell meaningful stories. Writing is not just for us; it is a gift that we get to share with others. Knowing you impacted someone with your words is the best feeling that will never go away.”

Learn more about McColloch and her book here.

Tessa is a junior in her second year of journalism. She enjoys co-writing for the Bears Doing Big Things column and the social trends happening at M-A. Tessa also enjoys playing tennis and is on the varsity team.

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