Reflection: Nick Broad

I have to say, coming from a mechanical engineering degree into a writing course at a liberal arts college, I was expecting to be the worst writer in class. I took a few starter courses; to my relief and horror, people were asking when to use “an” or “a,” when to put an apostrophe in “who’s,” and what a semi-colon was. These were adults, people who had finished high school and were hoping to be writers in the future. I was dumbfounded.

Dad suggested that I try focusing on something more specific. There happened to be on the prospectus a “Writing and Democracy” thing, so I gave it a shot.

For the next two years, I was constantly amazed with the quality of the writing my new peers were handing in. Sure, I didn’t like some of it, but their essays and stories were polished, inventive, and often unnerving.

They put me in my rightful place: below average. It was heaven.

The knowledge I gained from the Riggio courses has followed me into my current career, running The Busking Project, a website/book/documentary about street performance. I owe much of my success and ability to explore and experiment in my field to the peers with whom I shared those two wonderful years.

Nick Broad is the founder and director of The Busking Project, which he created after curating a six-week street performing program in central Manhattan in 2010.


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