Calling in from California, a chat with Artist Ajlan (Aji) Potter livened up a dull Ann Arbor day. I recall his bright smile, and eagerness to share his RC experiences. 

Aji studied Latin with the RC and majored in Linguistics, but ultimately ended up working as a 3D Artist in the entertainment industry.

I inquired about this unconventional path and delightfully explored the realm of Aji’s interests.

His initial interest in Latin stemmed not from a passion for Classical myths, but J. R. R. Tolkien’s glossopoeia (Tolkien’s self-coined term for language-making) in the Lord of the Rings, and the construction of language in general. 

“Language learning is really just exercising the ability to pick up on patterns,” he commented on his time learning Latin.

Discovery and new experiences were a common theme in our discussion - his time in the RC gave Aji the opportunity to nurture his interests into something more.

As a social butterfly, Aji spent time hanging out with both his “Latin Crew” and his friends from his First Year Writing Seminar. He enjoyed spending time in the RC exploring new passions and interacting with people from all walks of life.

But he was struggling, too, on which of his passions to proceed with: writing, or digital art? He arrived at this crossroad at an inauspicious time – the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As we continued our conversation, Aji shared his story about how a passion for the arts became an escape during the tough COVID  isolation and quarantine era.

Like many college students who are often lost and unsure about their future, Aji struggled with indecision and what to do next. It was during this time that he realized his passion for digital art could become a future career.

Aji touched on low periods of his college life, especially while cooped up indoors during the pandemic. Yet, he found his way by reaching out for help and embracing his conspicuously sunny disposition.

And so, fittingly, when I asked for Aji’s advice to current college students, he said, “follow your passions… remember that nothing lasts forever.”