By Sydney Toy (’20)
Emily Roche is a senior at Marywood, currently taking the senior seminar class required for all English majors. The biggest focus in this class is on a research project known as the capstone. For her capstone, Emily plans to focus on the darker aspect of children’s literature, honing in on Grimm’s Fairy Tales, specifically “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella.” She plans to compare the first edition of these fairy tales to the later editions that were not as dark as the first and look at why these changes took place in relation to history. After graduating, Emily plans on entering the publishing business, although she has not fully committed to one career.
Why Choose English?
Believe it or not, Emily did not intend to be an English major. Over coffee in the Learning Commons, she admits that she planned on being a Graphic Design major for the majority of her life. Emily then reveals that she, “didn’t really like English or reading too much until I was a senior in high school.” Starting off at Marywood, she was an art major, but quickly realized that art was not the correct path for her, so she switched to English, which meant she was doing one of her favorite activities, reading.
While Emily does love to read, and describes herself as a “serial reader,” she believes that the most difficult part of becoming an English major was the writing aspect of the major. She recalls her high school days, reminiscing about a bad English program. She says, “we had a really bad English program in my high school, and we really didn’t do a lot of writing. I didn’t write my first real English paper until college.” Aside from her disadvantage in writing because of her high school, she also states that she has a hard time transferring the thoughts she has about a book or a piece of literature into words.
Taking a Walk Down Memory Lane
When reflecting on her college experience and the past professors she had, Emily said the professor who inspired her the most was Dr. Bittel because she “helped influence what I’m interested in.” Emily states, “before college, I wasn’t interested in much about children’s literature, and then I took her children’s literature class and got really interested in it [children’s literature] and how its changed over the years.” Emily also named Dr. Sadlack among her favorites because of the passion she shows in what she is teaching. She feels that both of these teachers led her to the ideas she had for her capstone focus.
As a senior in her last semester, Emily has taken many credits over the past four years. When asked what her favorite memory was from all of her classes, I was once more whisked back to Dr. Bittel’s children’s literature class. She reiterated that taking this class helped her “find a focus and find my interest and what I wanted to know most about.” She also describes this class as, “a realization because I really like this and I could really do something with this.”
At the end of the interview, Emily had some advice she wished to offer to new English majors, from a senior to a freshman. She states, “everything you read, try to get something out of it. Look at why you’re assigned to read and find out why you’re studying this in the first place and what you can take from it.”