Sophomore literally means “wise fool.” How are we supposed to feel about being called a wise fool? Is it a good thing? Does it embrace our naivety? Or, undermine our intelligence? It’s up to you. For me, it’s a fitting description for the sophomore year I had at Holy Cross. For my last post of the year (which is long overdue!) I would like to share some overall highlights, lessons I’ve learned, and some highs and lows. Precisely, I’ll take you through a year of a wise fool.
College classes are difficult. Yet, they are not impossible. After a successful first year at the college, I felt unstoppable in terms of my academic career. I earned high marks in all of my classes. I was settling into my Classics major pretty well. I couldn’t tell you what came over me, but before the spring semester, I decided to switch up half of my classes. Even though it meant putting my Art History minor on hold, I decided to take intellectual risks by taking my first Political Science and Philosophy courses.
While I was prepared for these courses, they were well out of my comfort zone. I took a class on American Politics because I longed for some sense of political literacy and involvement. Turns out, politics is just as hollow as the politicians make it out to be. Spoiler alert: it’s all about power. I can’t see a future in politics for me, but I used my interest in the Ancient Roman Republic to fuel my involvement and interest in this course. My background in this field in Classics guided my understanding of American politics, and vice versa. It was a nice complement to my upper-level Latin class on the politician Cicero, whose Pro Caelio I read in the fall semester.
Philosophy was a bit harder to get into, but the most rewarding of them all. The course topic was called “Metaphysics.” Yea, maybe I should’ve swapped the class when I had the chance. At the start of the semester, my professor gave several warnings about the difficulty of the class. He wasn’t kidding, these philosophers are no joke. Some days I was better off not reading the chapter, because whether I read it or not, I wouldn’t even begin to understand what these people were talking about. But, that was the beauty of the course. I learned how to better approach philosophical thought, even philosophize myself, but my professor’s lectures about the importance of the metaphysical were all worth swallowing my fear of misunderstanding the readings. I got over being wrong in class a long time ago; there is no room in college for a fear of making mistakes.
This course was such a challenge that it completely altered my approach to my life. I saw my writing style, intent, and ideas flourish in front of my very eyes. In the same interdisciplinary nature, I was able to connect all of my classes with one another. Ancient transformation myths were now paired with Ancient and Modern political theory. I could go on and on.
New Windows of Opportunity
This fresh embrace of life and interdisciplinary thought was not only fostered within the classroom. This year I worked as a Research Associate for the New England Classical Journal. With NECJ, I was able to write my own abstracts, host a podcast episode, and even present my very own research paper at a conference. I never thought I would have accomplished something as an undergraduate student, but I did it! Even though I was a nervous undergrad surrounded by intimidatingly brilliant grad students and professors, it was excellent exposure I am grateful for so early in my career. I even had the opportunity to produce original research in Art History for the exhibition, which you’ve heard me talk about countless times. It was truly a success!
This year I also planned and hosted Classics Day, which was a massive undertaking. The students and volunteers all had a wonderful time celebrating the Classics. In my eyes, it was a little peace in the ever-changing world of a liberal arts education (we can get into that issue another time). This was my ultimate intellectual and leadership accomplishment that I have completed in my life thus far. Along with being Classics Day Chair and doing Community Based Learning work in my courses, I was recently named a Charles A. Dana scholar (2023-2024) for my outstanding intellectual competence, good character, and representation of the values of Holy Cross. What a way to end my sophomore year! I am beyond grateful for these opportunities and excited for what the future holds. You know, in Athens next semester! 😉
Fools as My Friends
Turns out my fellow wise fools make the best friends. This year has posed a lot of challenges. After a particularly low fall semester, I was reminded about how much of a gift we are to one another. College is a stepping stone for our success, not the end all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m that girl who will be in Dinand for hours; but, in the spring, I found my crowd that will do the same. My people who work so hard and deserve all the accolades, but remain humble and kind. Most importantly, we have fostered a loving community that cares for one another, the kind that supports one another instead of bringing each other down.
All the lows were worth it when I put into perspective what it means to be a woman for others. It means putting faith in yourself, your family, and your very best friends that we can do anything we set out to do. And, this is not over-optimistic, it is true. This comes out of pure joy for the people I have grown close to and those I have sadly grown apart from: you all have positively impacted my life. Thank you. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Whether it be cracking up in the main reading room, family Kimball dinner, or an off-campus walk (or two), these memories are forever.
Well, I guess I’m wiser now. Or, more foolish? Either way, this year was wild, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It’s been lovely writing to you all, and thank you for sticking around. If you don’t hear from me on this blog, you know where to find me!