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Ava Bloom and the power of “just doing it”

Sitting in an oversized Grateful Dead tee-shirt gracefully laying over a long, soft, green skirt Ava Bloom digs into her bag. She pulls out a binder full of paper, soon to be her zine. 

Bloom is a third-year English and philosophy student with a concentration in creative writing. She came to the University of Maine from Baltimore, Maryland, in the fall of 2021. As an active member of the women’s philosophy club, she is also a student worker in the student wellness office, an exec. board member of her sorority, Alpha Omicron Phi, an inductee of the Philosophy Honors Society and a Black Bear Mentor. It is easy to wonder how she has time to produce an independent zine. 

“I was never been interested in Greek Life,” said Bloom. 

When she got here, she didn’t know anyone, and her mom told her to give it a shot. So, she decided to rush. 

Now the vice president of recruitment, Bloom speaks highly of her sorority, the women who are a part of it and credits her leadership development to her time there. According to Bloom, she has met some of her best friends through Alpha Omicron Phi, including Paige McHatten. 

McHatten helped Bloom in her first year as she grappled with her discontent as a student in the ecology and environmental science program. 

“I felt like I started, so I had to finish it,” said Bloom. 

McHatten was supportive, advising Bloom to study something that she cares about. So, she changed her major to English and enrolled in Andy Mallory’s Existentialism in Literature class. 

“His class got me very interested in creative media and the accessibility of philosophy,” Bloom said. “A lot of philosophical texts and ideas are so out of reach or outdated that introducing creative media into it can make it easier to understand.” 

Now, Bloom is a declared philosophy minor, a member of the philosophy honors society and an active participant in the women’s philosophy club. 

According to Bloom, the women’s philosophy club is a place where female-identifying folk interested in philosophy can gather to study, discuss and read together. 

“In a major that is so touch and go and a lot of people can gatekeep information or be a little condescending, having a group of women that are also really interested in it is super cool cause you have someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of,” Bloom said. “It’s a lot less threatening.”

Bloom’s professor, Andy Mallory, does not only inspire her in the realm of philosophy, but they push her in terms of writing, too. Mallory actually encouraged Bloom to read at an Orono Brewing

Bloom performing at OBC. Photo provided by Jess Cleary-Reuning.

Company book reading this past Thursday, Sept. 21. 

On stage, reading out of a dark green journal, Bloom radiated with passion as she read a handful of her writings. 

Bloom is inspired by history and the people who surround her. “The people around me bring me so much joy in their interests,” she said. “I like to use that to cultivate their energy. Pass it around a bit.” 

Bloom published her first chapbook, “New Year’s Resolutions in March,” in 2022. 

A chapbook, by Bloom’s definition, is “a short collection of writings. Usually under 25 to 35 pages.” 

“New Year’s Resolutions in March come from the idea that you can start something new anytime you want,” said Bloom. “You can pick a New Year’s resolution today if you want to.” 

This book is a collection of poetry and prose Bloom wrote over the course of her first year at college, focusing on the changes she underwent and the lessons she learned.

In 2023, Bloom published “Sweet Dreams,” also through Bottle Cap Publishing. According to Bloom, this chapbook is about being the most authentic version of yourself. Both of her chapbooks can be purchased for $10 apiece on the Bottlecap Press website

Photo provided by Jess Cleary-Reuning

Bloom has many accomplishments beyond her academics and writing. Last year, through her job at the student wellness center, she wrote and received the Hamm Fund Grant, which provided the University with 1,500 fentanyl test strips. 

“It’s just something that is super important to me,” she said. “I grew up in Baltimore, and I have seen the effects that it could have.” 

Bloom is a great example for all of the different ways you can get involved and grow at UMaine advising that “No one cares that much. So, just do it.”

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