I have had the pleasure of spending the past two months here in Washington, DC working as a curricular development summer intern at the Center for Hellenic Studies (CHS). I have come to know scholars, staff members, and other undergraduates who have all made their way to CHS in order to connect and interact with the classical world.
The environment in which I was raised instilled a sense of seeking. A home that not only fostered but taught and encouraged my intense desire to read and explore. A desire for learning and information and for finding something new, interesting, and fun has been deeply ingrained into my person for as long as I can remember. Nowhere is this passion more evident than when I step foot into the world of Classics. This passion is what led me down the serendipitous road to CHS. I began my journey with classics during my freshman year of high school when I signed up for my first Latin class in order to take a language that I would not have to speak. I never imagined this choice to take Latin, my freshman year of high school, would so deeply influence, not only my academic existence, but my life. As a classics and English double major, the world of myth and language saturates every aspect of my life. Despite the fact that the classical world is an ancient one, that seems to be long gone, it nevertheless permeates our modern world in a multitude of ways: myth, drama, architecture, government, and other aspects of western culture. The Greeks and Romans can be found everywhere, if one is just willing to look. I have always loved how rich and relevant the field of classical studies is and this summer at CHS has taken this appreciation to new heights.
Not only did I read, analyze, and learn from these materials as I would in class, but I had the opportunity to interact with these texts and this field of study in a whole new way. I was able to witness and engage with the 2015 Sunoikisis Course Development Seminar as participants discussed primary and secondary literature, lesson plans, and writing assignments in order to construct and a syllabus and a backbone for this fall’s inter-institutional Latin and Greek courses. Another focus of the seminar was the changing status of the discipline in an ever more STEM focused academic setting. The seminar introduced me to the world of Digital Humanities as an ever-growing and changing field that brings these classical texts and sites into the 21st century. This is a mind blowing and exciting field that I cannot wait to interact with and explore more in the future.
In addition to these experiences, I have dabbled in online publications, copy editing, video editing, creating podcasts, interviewing local classics professors, witnessing undergrad and intergenerational programs such as the Homer Multitext project, the Information Fluency Workshop, and the Council of Independent Colleges seminar, and much, much more. I have also ventured into the rich experiences that DC has to offer – museums, monuments, food, a National’s game, 4th of July on the National Mall, the whole nine yards. I have done more this summer than I ever imagined possible, and everything I did was made possible by CHS.
Throughout the course of this summer I have been asked the same questions: what year are you going to be starting at school?, to which I reply that I am going to be a senior. They then ask the exponentially more difficult question of: what do you plan to do after graduation? I have been wrestling with this question all summer, trying to find a way to answer, since I anticipate getting this question more and more often as this year continues. Now, as the summer comes to a close and I prepare to embark on the the journey that is my senior year of college, tiptoeing up to the edge of the real world, and preparing to plunge into the future, I have an answer. I’m still not sure. But I don’t think I have to be either. This summer at CHS has provided me with even more tools necessary to face what is to come. I may not know exactly where I’m headed or what I am going to do, but with the encouragement and advice given to me by numerous people this summer, I feel comfortable in my discomfort as I go on to pursue my passion and find what I cannot live without. And I have no doubt that, in some way or another, classical studies will forever be a part of my life.
I would like to give special thanks to Allie Marbry, Lanah Koelle, Kenny Morrell, Greg Nagy, and all of the other incredible individuals who have not only given me a beautiful CHS experience, but have taught and mentored me in more ways than I can express. The Center for Hellenic Studies is a safe haven for classicists in the midst of this ever-changing academic terrain. Here there is a shared love, a passion, for the classical realm in a constantly growing community of committed individuals. I would encourage any student to pursue the numerous programs the Center offers and to get involved at CHS!