A student stands behind a pile of books stacked on a counter.
“The Stack” being disassembled at the bookstore. December 2016.

I remember sitting in my seventh-grade classroom and thinking about how much I loved grammar. When I think back and examine my life as a student, I’ve always known that my love for English was there. I was lucky enough to come to college already envisioning the next four years: books, words and a lot of discussions. I’ve always been enamored by the way writing is armed with the ability to change how one can feel. Words are subtly powerful and blatantly powerful all at once. The reason I have been feeling nostalgic about English is because class registration for next semester was last week, and I’ve recently come to the realization that, after this semester, I will be done with my English major. Though I have a lot more work to do before December 18 (the last day of finals), I feel this sudden urgency to remember and think back on all that I have learned about myself through my English classes here at Conn.

I’ve learned about “The Essentials of Literary Study” (my first English class here) and literary theory. I’ve taken a class on short story writing., I’ve read authors ranging from Phillis Wheatley to Don DeLillo to Virginia Woolf to Claudia Rankine. I’ve found books that have changed the way I see the novel, such as “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe. I wrote my final paper for a class called “Race, Nation and Empire in the 18th Century,” and this paper argued that “Robinson Crusoe” essentially birthed the novel as a new form of literary freedom.  I could go on and on about all of the things I’ve read during my years here that have expanded my mind and opened windows into new and exciting worlds. Yet, I also feel it impossible to really list all of the ways that my English major has aided in my learning because it has affected me most in subtle (yet critical) ways. For example, I have my own personal blog writing narrative nonfiction. When I look back on posts written during my early days as a college student I’m amazed at how my writing has changed.

In these posts I often harp on how the intimate community at Conn plays a positive role in so many aspects of life here. And, once again, this is true about my experience in the English department. I’m currently in a senior seminar about Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. The class is composed of seniors that I’ve taken all kinds of English classes with over the years. I’m a sentimental person, so perhaps this example of intimacy may not seem too exciting; however, it feels like an accomplishment that I get to finish my English career (as a college student) with the peers who have pushed me, encouraged me and have been with me on this journey.

During course registration, I chose to take two more English classes next semester. I don’t technically need to but I am not quite done exploring. At the end of last fall semester, when I was returning my books to the bookstore (all 24 of them) I stacked them up into piles on my desk before I brought them back. I felt thankful. The beginning of each school year, when my life is in a frenzy of organization), there is always a day when I drag 20 plus books back to my dorm from the bookstore. It became somewhat of a tradition (I never thought to drive them back. It has always felt as if they somehow deserved the dedication of hard work). “The stack” became important to me. I was proud of my education in reading, reading and more reading. It felt like me.