My Princeton pathway through the Department of English Literature started in the HUM Sequence. I had always delighted in devouring books, and as a freshman in HUM 216-219 I began to close read and connected with my first English faculty mentor, Professor Nigel Smith. Since then, my close conversations with texts and professors alike have set the tone for my major. I selected my courses in part due to my interest in their subject matter but, more importantly, because I wanted to learn from specific professors’ styles of reading and communicating.
Like many students I came to Princeton thinking I was going to major in something STEM-related. But after taking Maria DiBattista's course on European Modernism and Eduardo Cadava's seminar on Photography and Literature, I knew I could find a home in the English Department.
Being an English concentrator helped broaden my literary horizons and hone my reading and writing abilities. More than offering valuable professional skills, English is the one place that allowed me to explore all my many interests in a coherent and challenging program of study. In addition to my concentration in English, I will soon be graduating with certificates in Theater and American Studies as well.
I have always loved reading. Ever since I was a little girl I have devoured any reading material set in front of me, from historical fiction to the front page of the newspaper. Being an English major has of course allowed me to continue to explore my love of literature and language, carrying me to new worlds. Sometimes this has taken me in surprising directions, like when I unexpectedly fell in love with Paradise Lost and spent a year studying Milton for my senior thesis.
I am a rising senior in the English Department pursuing certificates in Theater, African Studies, and African American Studies. As an English Major, I have had the privilege to interact closely with faculty who encourage students to use English as a tool to explore and unify their other interests. Many of the English classes I have taken, including Some Contemporary Shakespearean Afterlives, Reading Literature: Drama, and African American Literature: Origins to 1910, have overlapped not just with my certificate programs but with my campus activities.
I entered Princeton, no doubt like many students interested in the humanities, torn between history and literature. Though I managed to study both in the Humanities Sequence during the fall of my freshman year, I noticed in the spring that courses in history—the department in which I first considered concentrating—weren’t as literary as I’d hoped. When I enrolled in an English Department course on Shakespeare the next fall, I was hoping to learn not only about his plays, but also about his times, his contemporaries, his context(s). I was not disappointed.