Kate Bielitz, a graduating senior is headed to graduate school and has given us a little insight on being an English major!
1. What is the exact name of the degree you will be working towards at Montclair State?/Name of Program
At Montclair State University, I will be studying for a Master’s Degree in English, which means I’ll be strictly studying literature. We are offered a wide variety of courses/classes and do not have to conform to one area of study in particular. However, I am most likely going to gear my studies toward British Literature, as that has always been my favorite type of literature to study here at Caldwell, particularly the Renaissance.
2. How has your work at Caldwell prepared you for grad school and what are you interested in studying at MSU?
Caldwell University has prepared me immensely for graduate school. I will always say this, but taking the Literary Criticism course I took in the Fall 2019 semester, reminded me why I want to study literature. That course opened my eyes to the many ways we can look at literature, and reminded me of how timeless literature truly is. Within that course, we looked at The Great Gatsby in many different lenses, such as a feminist lens, an African American lens, a Marxist lens, etc, and it was truly amazing to understand how to interpret a novel like that in so many ways when I was only taught to look at it one way. To me, that is the beauty of being an English major–to have the ability to think critically, analyze deeply, and have the ability to be open-minded. The professors and courses I took at Caldwell truly taught me how to do all three. The professors at Caldwell have always believed in me, always helped me become a stronger writer and to analyze just a little bit more. With having a wide variety of courses to choose from at Caldwell, I was able to try out many different eras, which is what I felt was important since I knew by my junior year, I was going to want to study literature in a graduate setting. Montclair’s graduate program reminds me a lot of our program: just a few required courses and the rest free electives, which I love because you are able to find your own interests and what you are good at, and build upon that. (Also a special thank you to Dr. Kornacki for helping me by ordering us graduate school books, meeting with me on a regular basis, and believing in my abilities)
3. Is there any advice you might be able to give to students who are currently working towards an English degree? Or maybe to someone who is looking into becoming an English major?
My advice for anyone who is in the English program here at Caldwell, or thinking about becoming a part of the English program, is to take different era courses. You will find what interests you the most by taking many different courses. Even if you do not feel like you would be good at it (my feelings toward Shakespeare courses), you will learn how to read literature the correct way. I always say: take the challenging courses, take upon the challenge, because you always almost end up much better at something when you are challenged. Also, READ. Read the text, then reread it again until you know exactly what you are reading. If you need help, use the resources available. Do not struggle alone. Caldwell offers many ways to improve: the professors themselves are always eager to help, and especially the Writing Center is available if you prefer to receive help from a peer. Even if you are taking a challenging course, you should never feel like you cannot improve. We all are capable of much more we give ourselves credit for. Being an English major here at Caldwell University reminded me that I am capable of understanding literature I thought I never would such as The Iliad, various Shakespeare plays, and MOST of the early literature. Once we are taught something the correct way, there is no going back!