Major(s) and Minor: Math, French, Medieval Studies
The best I can say is: umm, interviewers ask about French with interest and I think it’s helped me get most all of the jobs I’ve had.
That sort of thing bores me to tears, so instead let me talk about what studying French was like. In a word: joy.
To borrow Mme Pairet’s turn of phrase, French was my playground.
During class I got to …
spray-paint make a pop-up book of gnomes in lieu of a paper on the Hundred Years’ War 3-d print squirrels bake apple cake for a final video project have a witch week eat brownies while blindfolded submit midterm answers in (tacky) rhymed verse go outside to watch street breakdancing and, let it never be forgotten: beat Kristen at “un, deux, trois, soleil!”
Besides the hijinks, the Department’s “anything you like” attitude did let me do traditionally-constructive things.
I joined an early incarnation of language exchanges, and started to think “hmmm we could use math to match partners.” Poor Mme Shaw took my out-of-the-blue 8-page very-math-y email with enthusiasm. Charles and Faith were generous enough to join me, and together we created an online partner-matching system. We were allowed complete, heady freedom.
I could go on and on about the things I discovered (did you know that there was a medieval dialect of French written in Hebrew characters? of the embroiled imbrication of hagiographies and Halloween creatures? that Rimbaud and a Jewish anarchist poet from Chicago were separated by but one degree? anything of the history of the color blue? read Pastoureau!). You get to pick what you’re interested in and mold it to fit the class ... or the reverse.
What I hope to convey is: take French! Don’t be afraid by the fancy author names, or in thinking you can’t write. Some of the kindest, caring, most helpful professors are here, and they will teach you. And if you’re still undecided ...