Developing My Passion in English

by · July 20, 2018

At the Mount, we encourage our students to find their passion in the classroom.

Today on the blog, Sierra Caban, a sophomore English major pursuing certification in Childhood and Special Education, talks about being passionate about your studies, and why she’s found her passion in the Division of Arts and Letters at the Mount.

“Growing up, I always loved to read and write. Throughout high school, I lost touch with that part of my childhood and focused on just reading for school or doing other extracurricular activities. When I began to look into colleges, I was looking to be a Criminology major, but wasn’t 100% set on that. In my junior year of high school, I had an amazing English teacher that helped me realize that English was my passion. When I first came to the Mount, the English table at the Admissions event drew me in because of all of the classes offered and just how friendly the people were. I remember talking to Professor Phillips and Dr. Shea for a while at Accepted Students Day because they were telling me all about what the Mount offered in terms of classes and what I could get involved in. 

My favorite aspect of my major is how challenging the classes are. While everyone has taken English classes their entire schooling career, the Mount provides a variety of classes that challenges students to dig into various texts and analyze beyond the surface understanding. There are also classes that aren’t like conventional English classes, providing students with different skills when it comes to tackling English. For example, I wasn’t interested in teaching until I started working with students with my theatre group.

The English division provides quite a bit of support for its students. The library on campus and the databases on the library’s website allow students to have access to any and all materials needed for things like research papers or projects. The division also has faculty that want to see their students succeed and will help them do so.

In my time at the Mount, the English professors have been extremely helpful. Even if I had the simplest question, they were available to meet or were thorough in their emails to make sure any questions were answered. I’ve built good relationships with my professors, which has made the college experience so much better. I like being able to talk with my professors outside of class to learn more about them because they’re not just teachers; they have lives that don’t revolve around school. Aside from being helpful, the professors are some of the funniest people on campus. I’ve never left the English office without a smile on my face.

One academic experience that sticks out so far is a project I worked on in my Shakespeare class with Dr. Wakeman. In the beginning of the year, he would start class by opening up this website, and we’d go around the classroom telling him what we saw in this recipe book. Later on, we learned that we’d be doing a project where we’d be transcribing the same recipe book and writing a blog post connecting it to an article. While transcribing, I realized how much I enjoyed it. I remember turning in my project and being proud of the work I had done. While it was difficult, there was something exciting about seeing how English has changed since then and learning about that culture just through recipes. These recipes revealed a lot about the author of the book, in the sense that the methods of making these medicinal treatments and ingredients used showed her social class, educational level, and things of that nature. It made me have a greater appreciation for English and also for scholars who have been doing this type of transcribing for years. It’s an art to be able to understand just what these recipe books were saying.

I would encourage students to study English because it’s all around us and is always changing. Some might say ‘Why would I study english? I already speak it.’ But, like I said, it’s always changing. Look at Shakespeare’s writing and see just how similar the words seem but how different the meanings can be. In just analyzing texts, English majors can acquire various vocabulary words which improve our communication skills. This helps in writing essays, job interviews, everyday conversations, and just about anything else a person could think of. Our knowledge is built on foundations of reading and writing; so, why not continue to build that foundation? There’s so much to learn about the human nature, cultures, sciences, technologies, and so much more just through reading. I can’t think of something that I’ve learned without using the skills I’ve been taught in an English class. And even in college, I’m still learning so much about how English works and where it’s developed from because that’s how adaptable the language is.”

Want to learn more about English and the other academic programs in the Division of Arts and Letters? Click here to learn more!