I truly feel a sense of belonging within my major.
The English major at my university is very small and tight-knit — often I find myself running into many of my past TAs and professors within the same few buildings on campus, and almost always they will remember me by name. I see familiar faces in all of my English classes throughout the year, which always makes me feel like I am a part of a community, a little home within the large, science-driven, research university atmosphere.
Today in particular was a day when I felt that connection and belonging.
My TA for my medieval literature class is a very nice person. He was actually my writing instructor for my summer course before my freshman year of college (see what I mean about the community being so small?), so I feel as though I have really come full circle. And he was also a guest speaker in my renaissance romance course during the winter of my junior year. He recognized me by name on the first day of class, which of course made me smile. And you know when a teacher or professor knows you and when they are taking attendance they just say “Bailee’s here,” and you don’t even have to raise your hand or acknowledge your own existence? He does that every time. I love that!
So today in class we discussed Beowulf, the implications of the role of “monsters,” (if you are familiar with the text then you will know what I mean), and particularly our professor’s reading of the text. I usually enjoy participating in sections or seminars, even if it takes a couple days for me to warm up to the TA or professor. Small class settings are where I thrive and feel comfortable. I love sharing input with the rest of the classmates and the instructor. The collaborative nature of reading literature is one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much. But I digress. SO anyway, I had a lot to say about Beowulf, so I spoke up here and there without seeming like I was taking up most of the air in the room with my ideas and. But at the end of class, the TA said that he actually disagrees with the professor’s reading of the text, and he explained why. And I agree with him! So when he asked us what we thought, I spoke up and said:
“Well I mean, if we were to only read Beowulf’s act of killing the dragon as selfish, then how would we read the text if Beowulf had instead said, ‘Nah, I don’t really feel like it today. I’m just going to die old.’? That’s problematic, and we would probably then criticize his actions as cowardly.”
Students laughed, the TA agreed with me…I felt like such an appreciated literature nerd and it was great.
So today, I am grateful for witty TAs, open-minded classmates, and my courage to speak up in academic settings because sometimes, I really do have a lot to say.
Comment down below what you are grateful for (or if you just want to talk about Beowulf, that’s awesome too).
Here’s a bonus pic of me walking to my medieval literature lecture, seasonal gingerbread latte in hand and smiling in excitement because English rocks.