Interview with the author: Dominique Marshall ’10 talks about her book “20 Something Sundays”

“20 Something Sundays: A Memoir in the Decade of Survival” was written by social worker Dominique Y. Marshall ’10 (Psychology) of Brooklyn N.Y. Here, she shares the role SUNY New Paltz played in her professional and writing success.

Q: Tell us about your book…

“20 Something Sundays” started as an idea to share all the things I had learned while “adulting.” It was inspired by the many complaints I’d heard over the years from my peers about the lessons they felt school or parents didn’t teach them. I felt that I had something to share because I had been relatively successful. As I journeyed through adulthood, I realized some things are better lived than taught. In “20 Something Sundays” I incorporate my knowledge as a therapist and share how specific practices helped me to navigate new spaces and survive my 20’s.

Q: Tell us more about your career and experience as a therapist…  

I am currently working as a social worker in a middle school. I enjoy the work that I do because working with children every day is an adventure. I specifically work with populations who experience trauma in their environment.

After leaving New Paltz, I went into the Peace Corps. Living in Morocco further inspired a love of travel and understanding different life experiences. I have been able to incorporate my love of travel into my career by collaborating with schools in other countries to support teachers in managing behaviors and working with students who have disabilities. A lot of my work is in building a sense of community that expands globally.

Q:  What role did the College play in your success, and in inspiring your book? 

New Paltz played a huge role in where I am today. In “20 Something Sundays” I talk about some of the friendships I made and how the experience living on campus challenged my beliefs about people. New Paltz allowed me to grow outside of my environment and introduced me to ideas that I would not have encountered back home.

My book is about survival, growth and healing. As a therapist I am excited about societies interest in mental health lately. I feel that a huge part of the conversation is how young people are faring in adulthood. Beyond finances, and the material goods that tend to define what it means to be grown, many young people lack basic communication skills, self-worth and the ingredients for lasting relationships. I believe that these are the foundational skills for any connection.

When I consider the impact New Paltz has had on “20 Something Sundays” I think about specific classes and workshops I often refer back to, even today. The Education of Self class allowed me to be aware of what beliefs I was carrying around from childhood and who was influencing those beliefs. I also recall a communication workshop that was led by a resident director. In the workshop, we discussed how people are basically walking around with open sores unseen. As we engage with people, we tend to poke the sore without realizing. This creates a society of people that are hurt, unaware and angry. “20 Something Sundays” allows people to build self-awareness so that they have access to loving, healthy relationships.