By Amanda Seed
Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Amanda, a fourth-year English Language and Literature student with a minor in Greek and Roman studies. My passions are reading and writing alongside teaching and music.
I’m really excited to be a “Life in English” blogger this year because, while I am graduating in May, I’m hoping my Carleton journey won’t end quite yet; next year, with any luck, I’ll be returning to this department as an MA student.
In all honesty, I love Carleton and that is why I’m hoping to continue my graduate studies here. Some people have bad things to say about the school, about how supposedly ‘easy’ it is to get accepted, but to them I say I’m proud to know that Carleton offers an opportunity for success to those who did not thrive in a high-school setting. And while people may think it’s easy to get in, it’s definitely not easy to graduate. Did I mention I want to be a teacher? I guess I like to hold out hope that everyone will find their academic passion and the fact that my school might allow somebody to do just that makes me proud. I hope someday, when I am teaching English at the high-school level, I can inspire even just one of my students the way some of my professors at Carleton have inspired me.
Of course, just because I am academically inspired doesn’t mean it’s easy going. Don’t get me wrong: sometimes I dread writing a paper, going to class in the coldest months of the year, or stomaching the long commute home just to spend yet another late night studying. But then again, every once in a while, a paper comes along, one that I sit with for hours mulling over a thesis and doing careful close reading, building an argument that I actually get excited about and throw all my passion into because I realize I’ve actually found a good idea. Have you ever heard something so nerdy as getting excited over some thorough literary analysis? Yet, that’s what I live for and that’s why I’m as excited as I am scared for my fourth-year to start.
I’ll be honest: this year is particularly daunting and exhilarating for more reasons than one. First, I am balancing my fourth-year class schedule with my work (I’m a piano teacher), my choir (the Canterbury Trebles), my mentorship (Carleton’s FYC program), and what little time I have left for a social life and family. I also commute from Manotick (where you may ask?), but that’s nothing new. Second, while in previous years I worked to keep a high GPA to maintain my entrance scholarship and be able to apply to other awards, this year I am working to maintain those grades for grad school and eventually, teachers’ college. Scary stuff. Finally, this isn’t an ordinary fourth-year course load I’m talking about. I am also one of the students in this year’s Accelerated Pathway Program, which means that instead of taking two fourth-year courses, I am taking two graduate-level courses in their place.
What was I thinking, right?
So, while I’m so excited to graduate and start this next chapter of my life, try out some MA-level courses, and to be a mentor to new Carleton students, I am also terrified of drowning under the weight of my new responsibilities.
But then, when I walk around the airy Carleton campus (which admittedly has a bit more construction than usual marring its peacefulness), it still gets a little easier to take a breath and know that I can do this, I can work hard, I just need to take it one day at a time.
Life in English is exhausting, scary, and difficult, especially when you know that there is no right or wrong answer in literary exploration, but rather you must rely on your ability to prove your own claims. But then, Life in English is also invigorating, fascinating, and enlightening precisely because there isn’t a right answer. Everything is open to investigation and imagination, your opinions are free to be shared and debated, and you can learn as much from your peers’ ideas as you can from your professors.
I look forward to learning from the experience of being a fourth-year blogger and maybe, if I’m lucky, some of you will learn vicariously through my experiences as well.