Alumni Profile: Devon Butler, MALS '15

School of Graduate and Advanced Studies alumna Devon Butler, MALS ’15, is the kind of woman you want to follow on Instagram. Her photos show a dreamy, fashionable world in New York City that earn hundreds of likes from her slew of avid followers. But dig into the captions or better yet go to her blog, Modern Lamb, and you’ll discover that Devon is a dynamic writer and thinker, who covers everything from where to find the most underrated fashion brands to dealing with homesickness and the pressures of being an adult. Recently, Devon answered our questions on her Dartmouth experience, her life in New York, and her advice for current graduate students:

Tell us about your background and about the journey that led you to study at Dartmouth?
Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. I dreamt of being in a place with like-minded people and infinite opportunities. I studied with this goal in mind. I double majored in English & Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University (In Ontario, Canada) and sought to establish meaningful connections with professors. Despite my hard work and top grades, I was still rejected from two schools and felt completely defeated. I almost gave up. But then, after lots of hard work and forcing myself to take a chance, I was accepted to Dartmouth.

Tell us about your time at Dartmouth: what did you study, what was your thesis? What non-academic aspects of Dartmouth/New Hampshire did you enjoy most?
At Dartmouth, I received a MALS degree with a focus on Creative Writing. Having two grandmothers suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, I became particularly interested in the role of impermanence in our lives and in writing. My thesis “Writing Impermanence” was a collection of short stories and poems on this theme.

While difficult at times, I began to really appreciate the quiet of Hanover. I loved being able to get back in touch with the outdoors and give myself lots of time for quiet reflection which really helped me grow as a person and become more independent and self-assured.

Share your favorite Dartmouth memories/moments/study spots:
The Tower Room was my absolute favorite place to study, though I’m afraid I got more sleeping than studying done in there. I will always cherish the memories I made at Green Key and Thursday nights at the HOP.

Tell us about life after graduation. How was the transition to living and working in New York?
Moving from a quaint college town to New York City was jarring. I didn’t know anybody in New York and was dreadfully homesick. Thankfully, Dartmouth has an extensive and helpful alumni network and having graduated from such an incredible school gave me an edge at work. While New York and Hanover don’t necessarily have a lot in common, I’d learnt how to be self-reliant and how to put myself out there to make connections and was able to carve myself a place in a new city.

What led you to start your blog?
Before moving to New York, I returned home [Canada] for a few months. It was a welcome break. That’s when I first started my blog. I’d always loved fashion and style but other bloggers seemed to have endless wardrobes and designer bags and I didn’t feel like I fit in that space. I decided to take a different approach and showcased cheap DIY’s and how to style clothes you find in your parent’s basement. I found blending humor with relatable experiences to be highly successful.

My ultimate vision is to create a blog that reads much more like a digital magazine. With everything from health, beauty, fashion, lifestyle and career advice. I’m starting a new section called “Cool Girl/Cool Job” that profiles the education and career of different women and I’m ultimately, striving for a genuine approach to the influencer landscape.

Any advice to current graduate students or recent graduates?
Don’t compare yourself to what others are doing. Everybody has a different path and you may not know what that is yet but with hard work and some necessary risk-taking you’ll figure it out.

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