Monday, August 13, 2012

Why I love studying English at the State University of New York at Fredonia

The English department at SUNY Fredonia is more than just an academic department for me—it has become a home. I’ve always loved words: the way they can be strung together in an infinite amount of combinations and always mean something new. But for the longest time, I had my heart set on a career in music. Obviously, that plan did not come to fruition, and I spent a year majoring in psychology, just trying to keep myself afloat. When I realized I was miserable and desperately needed a change, I sought out the English department chair for advice. The minute I stepped into her office, the entire atmosphere shifted. I felt more at ease than I had in months, and I knew it was where I belonged. Since changing my major, I’ve been challenged both as a student and as a person, and I’ve made enormous strides toward becoming the person I want to be. Through spirited intellectual debates and challenging research and writing assignments, I’ve found myself growing increasingly passionate about subjects I’d never thought of or thought I’d take an interest in. Of the many assignments I’ve completed, one has changed my life immeasurably. I was given the opportunity to complete a research project of my own design relating to English and literary study in any way. As a die-hard fan of the television series Castle, I chose to focus my assignment on the idea of television being a form of literature, using examples from the series to support my claim. After completing the project, I used social media to catch the attention of Castle series creator Andrew W. Marlowe, who took the time to read my paper and reply through twitter. This seemingly innocuous event garnered attention from not only my immediate supervising professor, but the English department as a whole, as well as the college campus newspaper and PR department. The success of this paper has opened my eyes to the option of going into a field of study relating to literary study and television in some form, which is something I’d never considered—and wouldn’t have without the opportunity to research something I was passionate about. That’s what I love about Fredonia. The professors here really care and take a real interest in their students—both in and out of the classroom—and are constantly going above and beyond to help us succeed. They want us to study what we love and love what we study, and they push us beyond what we think we can do into the realm of the impossible. Without the support and motivation from my professor, I never would have been able to complete the kind of project I did, and having the freedom to choose what I really wanted to talk about allowed me to actually be excited about the things I was researching. While my future career is still a mystery, every day I’m finding more and more doors being opened to new and exciting possibilities.
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