Profile by Kayla Seymour (’18)
Thomas Collins is a non-traditional student. He is a scholar and father with a full-time job, three children, and he is in pursuit of an English literature degree at Marywood University. Thomas has been studying at Marywood since 2011, making him the most productive human being I’ve ever come across.
- Why did you choose to study English?
Thomas: I’ve always been interested in things that happened before us. Until things started to be recorded, we didn’t have a lot of knowledge of happenings going on. English is a great companion to history because you have people from different times writing about what’s surrounding them.
2. Any advice to new English majors?
Thomas: Diversify your classes as much as you can. For example, British Literature I is very different from British Literature II because in Brit. Lit. II you have women starting to appear because it was a time women were starting to be taken more seriously as intellectuals. And you start to see women’s writing is just as good as the men’s, better even, because they have a different perspective and come at things with a different way of thinking.
Also, learn grammar because it helps you become a better reader and writer. For example, use nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc., and learn how to identify these things in writing. You can really gain an intimate perspective on grammar if you study it in college because you realize it’s all around you. You’ll start to understand writing without writing in the standard way you’ve known your whole life.
3. What is the focus of your Capstone paper?
Thomas: I am writing about a book called Watership Down by Richard Adams. It was written several decades ago and got turned down for publishing over fifty times until Adams finally found a small firm to publish his book.
The book is based off an area Adams grew up in when he was younger, a small, wooded, country area. In Watership Down, this place is known as The Warren, a place in which rabbits live underground in a series of tunnels. The Warren has a government in which there is a leader who is part of the upper echelon of society and is one of the strongest, wisest members of society. And there is also a military presence in The Warren that is made up of the larger rabbits of the community. Over the course of the novel there are three different rabbit communities. And the communities all have different governments. There is The Warren spoken of earlier. There is also a democratic community, but the common rabbits do not have a voice. Another of the communities resembles a dictatorship where there is one leader, General Woolwort.
In Watership Down, I will be looking at the government structures and the group of rabbits that break away from the government groups and how their separate community works together and why it works together. I’ll also look at what communities fall apart and why they fall apart.
4. Do you have a favorite memory from being an English major?
Thomas: Just having the opportunity to be at Marywood, something I never thought I would do until I made the decision to go back. I have three small children and a full-time job, so at times it is really challenging to pull this together. But to be at Marywood, have the experience, and do well, so far has been a blessing.
5. So, what’s next Thomas?
Thomas: My ultimate goal is to be an English and history teacher. So I’ll be going for my Masters right after my Bachelors is complete.