What Is a Reedie, Anyway? (continued)

Photo by Matt D'Annunzio

Zachary Garriss classics

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

Adviser: Prof. Sonia Sabnis [classics 2006–]

Thesis: Acerrimus

What it’s about: I explore various interpretations of the Nisus character from book 9 of Virgil’s Aeneid through three creative adaptations: a film screenplay of the episode, a poetic journal written from the Nisus’ perspective, and a theatrical dialogue between Nisus and Hades shortly after the events of the episode.

What it’s really about: Virgilian fanfiction.

Who I was when I got to Reed: A 29-year-old game developer without any academic background overwhelmingly grateful that Reed decided to take a chance on him. I was on campus for about five minutes when I knew, “This is where I want to go.”

Favorite class: Intro to Dance with Prof. Carla Mann [dance 1995–] is brilliant, dancing awkwardly is therapeutic, and you earn an art credit and two PE credits simultaneously.

Influential professor: Prof. Pancho Savery [English 1995–] taught me to consider conference—and all my work at Reed—through the lens of what I can contribute, and not according to what I get from the experience.

Influential work of art: Someone scrawled, “Art lives and Art dies” on the wall by mail services. I think about it constantly.

A concept that blew my mind: Humanity in itself is a series of ecosystems wherein ideas live, fight, breed, and die.

Outside the Classroom: I ran a Dungeons and Dragons group for three years. Some of my best memories here involved dice and a hand-drawn map. House adviser in the Birchwood Apartments. Tutored writing, humanities, and Latin.

How Reed changed me: Before coming here, I was quick to answer a question. Now I examine the framework first, and am prone to rejecting a question I don’t like in favor of a better one rather than let a question guide my thinking out of the gate.

Financial aid: I wouldn’t have been able to come here if the financial aid package at Reed was not so incredibly generous.

Word to prospies: Remember that success here isn’t about what you can accomplish on your very best day—Reed is a marathon. Success is about what you accomplish on your hundred worst days. So take it one step at a time, and don’t give up. That said, when the dust settles and Reed’s in your rear view, the work you did won’t matter at all compared to the people you’ve met and the kind of person you chose to be in their lives.

What’s next: I'm working as a freelance writer, researcher, and game developer in Los Angeles.