Though there have been a number of changes to my secondary major, my primary major, English, has remained the same since Week One. Like many others, I chose English because I always liked books, writing and the pretentiously smug feeling of being well-read.
However, the mere enjoyment of reading and a pompous literary air were not what drove me to sustain long-term study; what truly sparked my love for the English major was my realization that language is deeply political. Indeed, English classes at St. Olaf helped me to realize my own politicization as a transnational Asian-American adoptee and woman of color, giving me the vocabulary to name my experience. This kind of personal-political learning was revolutionary to me. Through the English department, I found the writers who today form my deepest-held beliefs and the critical frameworks with which I view the world around me.
Such challenges to my conceptualization of identity were never anticipated, yet this is what I see as so unexpected and lovely about my time at St. Olaf. I am grateful to have had my life so profoundly changed by my studies, almost without warning, empowering me and motivating my love of self and of others.
As I apply to English Ph.D. programs and prepare for an early graduation this December, I reflect on how radically my beliefs have shifted and continue to shift because of my critical engagement at St. Olaf, how grateful I am to have met the friends and professors that freshen my perspective every day. Over three and a half years, I have grown and learned so much – yet, I know that there remains a wealth of knowledge still to seek, and that my interrogation of language, of politics and of selfhood do not end with my undergraduate years. I look forward to the next chapter.
I have worked at the Manitou Messenger as an editor since my sophomore year. My life at St. Olaf would have been significantly different without the goodness of the other editors and execs throughout the years, some of whom have become my wonderfully close friends. I have nothing but respect and admiration for my coworkers, and this paper prints every week because of your exceptional work. It is because of you that I take pride in my position here. The Messenger office has been a place where I’ve gone to laugh, chat, pretend to do homework and hide from the rest of campus; I will always cherish my time spent there with our staff. Thank you for making this project so special to me.