By AMANDA REGALADO “The world crushes everybody,” 20-year-old Rayne Ellis said. “I am being crushed, but who cares. I am here. I am paying $70,000 a year so I am going to do something.”
Inspired by absurdist philosophy and her mother’s tenacity, Ellis said she wants to help change our world in crisis.
Ellis, a junior at New York University, is a Journalism and Psychology double major with a Politics minor. She describes herself as both self-aware and aware of others. She said that in order to write intelligently about people, she must understand why people make certain decisions.
Although she believes life is meaningless, her love for people pushes her actively tackle issues facing contemporary society.
Tell me about your childhood.
My mom had me right out of college. She was a single mother who raised me through medical school. She was basically by herself up until I was 8, when she got married to someone I had known for my whole life. I already thought of him as my dad. My mom is my idol. She did it all by herself. We started off in this two-bedroom apartment in Nashville. I got to watch her go through the struggles of raising a child. Now we have this three-story house with a basketball court and a koi pond. I have two younger siblings. 11 years younger and 14 years younger than me, and they are growing up into privilege. I got to watch my parents build and grow themselves, which has made me see the world differently. I didn’t grow into privilege, but I did not earn it myself, so I really appreciate hard work.
Has your mother always been your idol?
During high school and middle school she was my enemy. She didn’t want me to make the same mistakes she did. She hated the way I dressed. She thought that I was disrespectful and we did not get along. I ran away once. I was so dramatic.
When did your relationship change?
After coming to college I started maturing and realizing she has been right this whole time. I didn’t dress well and I was disrespectful and I didn’t know everything. I still don’t. I feel like, because I started realizing these things, she is much happier with who I am. I’ll call her for anything now.
What are you passionate about?
I play volleyball for NYU. People say that when you play it in college or when you play it for so long you get burnt out but it has had the exact opposite effect on me. I love it more than I did in high school. So that’s my hobby. I do a lot of other things. I am obsessed with music.
What is your favorite type of music?
For music, I like a lot of alternative, rock, and rap if it’s intelligent. I also like ratchet rap sometimes. I grew up on Kanye West because my dad loved Kanye West, and I am obsessed with him. He is one of my favorite rappers. I am also a strong proponent of 80’s music.
What would you like to be when you grow up?
I am at a weird crossroads right now. I love journalism, I love writing, I love people. But at the same time I have a passion for politics. Not because I really like politics but because I think it is necessary for the truth to be told. Right now we are in a crisis. I am nervous and I am scared and I want to be a part of it because I want to be a part of the change. In the long run I will write for music because I love to, and maybe one day, whoever I am writing for will find out that I have a politics minor and then I will end up being a political correspondent. Boom. Press Secretary.
How do psychology, politics, and journalism fit together?
It’s all just about people. People ask me all the time, why Psych and Journalism? It’s just repetitive. I am doing the same thing twice. Psych is behind the trends. If you are going to write about something, that’s great, but if you don’t understand why people are doing what they are doing, you will not understand. I am not just interested in knowing the trends, I am interested in why trends are the way they are.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would you say?
I stress out a lot. I am an anxious person. But I do not exhibit it, I laugh about it. I believe in a particular philosophy of absurdism, which is like, “Life is so meaningless, but let’s laugh about it.” It is interesting because it is coupled with crippling anxiety and depression. I feel like a lot of my friends are like that. The world is definitely going to shit, but like let’s drink and laugh about it.