When I came to Conn, I was unsure about what I wanted to major in. I was considering biology as I had liked it in high school and had done well in it. But I was not ready to commit. I also knew that I loved Latin and classics, but I did not think that I wanted to major in those subjects because I thought I wouldn’t go into those fields after graduation. However, by the end of that semester, I changed my mind. I found myself leaning toward a biology and classics double major. The next semester I decided to officially declare those majors and made a plan to fit all the required courses into my next three years at Conn.
The summer after my first year many people asked me if I had decided on a major yet. I was so excited to share that I wanted to be a biology and classics double major. This always received the same response, “Oh those are… interesting. What are you going to do with them?” I always answered that biology was my “real” major and classics was just a hobby, but that did not feel right to me. Classics is very important to me. It is a worthwhile pursuit. I just did not know how to explain that to people yet.
At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was trying to decide which Pathway I wanted to enter. Pathways are a set of courses and experiences organized around a central theme. Initially, I wanted to join the Public Health Pathway as it seemed to fit best with my long-term plan of becoming a genetic counselor. But while I was looking for the classes associated with the Pathway, I stumbled upon the Eye of the Mind Pathway. I went to an information session and there Associate Professor of Mathematics Christopher Hammond talked to me about how the sciences and humanities were not always separated the way they are now. I was immediately interested.
During the Thematic Inquiry Course for the Pathway, we discussed the historical origins of the liberal arts, the ways that various subjects are useful outside of their technical knowledge, and how subjects can make a person better. We talked about things like how abstract mathematics can teach someone humility. During that time, I started to think about why I liked both genetics and classics and how I thought they were related. This led me to develop my animating question: why have the sciences and humanities been separated, and should they be? I also started to question what we can learn about a society based on their medical practices and conceptions of the body. I will present on how these questions developed and the ways I tried to answer them at the All-College Symposium on Nov. 7. More than 160 seniors will participate in the symposium, where we will showcase how our coursework and experiences have informed our studies and learning over four years.