Chadron State College
Chadron State College

Why be an English Major at CSC?

James M. Robertson, (B.A. Literature, class of 2011)

James RobertsonI came to Chadron State College because I wanted to get far away from home. For me, life "back east" was comfortable but boring, and like so many young men, I sought adventure in the West. The little Panhandle town of Chadron seemed to combine the pleasures of higher education with the thrill of the unknown, and when I arrived on my first visit, I was hooked. The scenic Pine Ridge to the south provided a perfect backdrop for the cozy campus I encountered. Rolling hills to the north and west hinted at vast, unknown spaces waiting to be explored, much like those within myself. The English Department here has proven to be an exceptional accompaniment to the adventurous natural setting, and I've come to admire both greatly. It's a privilege to be able to work closely with dedicated and experienced professionals, often in small, personalized classes, but also on campus and in the broader community. Literature Professors structure their curriculum to fit with the natural surroundings of the college and the experiences the students have while in attendance. When I go hiking or fishing in the nearby wilderness after a day of classes, I can always appreciate how my education adds meaning to these activities I‘ve grown to love. The Department has worked to make the college experience into an integrated whole for the learner. Chadron Literature Majors don’t just study and go to class. We learn of the power a place can have over people, while experiencing it first-hand.

Kinley Hadden, (B.S.E. English, 2008)

Currently living and working in Omaha, I have taught a variety of secondary level English classes at Benson High School Magnet Center for Academic Research and Innovation, a magnet for Omaha Public Schools.  My Bachelor’s Degree in Education with an endorsement in English is a prerequisite for my teaching position.  Along with teaching, I am also working on my Master’s Degree in English from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  I have taken several classes focusing on feminist, multicultural literature, and linguistics.  I feel that the English classes I took in Chadron have more than prepared me to bring creative and valid discussion points to discussions in my graduate classes.  English and education classes prepared me to discuss theory in a professional manner and bring innovative and best-practice methods to the classroom. Next year, I will work on my Master’s Degree and undergrad in biology full time.  My ultimate goal is to use my Master’s Degree and biology major to assist in applying to Med School with the hopes of one day becoming an obstetrician.  Had it not been for marvelous personalities and educators that challenged me, I would not have moved outside of my comfort zones to explore new places, subjects, and people.  I love the opportunities my liberal arts education has provided: working with diverse students in urban schools, competing and learning in graduate programs, and teaching my son the value of an open and creative mind.

Dan Schweitzer (B.A. Literature, 2008)

Midway through my freshman year, I was undecided about what my major would be and had already switched majors twice. The problem wasn't that I couldn't decide what I wanted to do; instead, I wanted to do everything. When I declared as an English major, I hadn’t met people with a degree in English who were accomplished judges, attorneys, pastors, even scientists – although I have since.  All I knew was that I wanted a field that would allow me to discuss any ideas, that would require me to read and discuss the works of the greatest minds, that would force me to examine myself and the world around me more closely. Pursuing my degree here has allowed me to work closely with immensely talented students and professors from every subject, in ways as diverse as discussions of epistemology over midnight coffees, to working as a research assistant in CSC’s own Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center, to presenting information on water conservation to the EPA in Washington, D.C.  When I chose to major in English, I wanted to be surrounded by the brightest, most curious people possible.  I have not been disappointed – majoring in English at CSC has been all that, and more.

Cassie Bohn-Germain (B.A. Literature, 2004)

Eighty years is not enough time – for anything, really, much less the squeezing in of a whole lifetime. And to waste four of those limited years pursuing a degree in a field I was less than passionate about, leading to an occupation that wouldn’t bring me joy, was not an option. So fare-thee-welling pragmatics and ignoring those dull parade-rainers always asking the predictable “What are you going to do with a degree in English?,” I chose to live my bliss and major in English at CSC.

I gorged on great books. I chewed on the bits of the philosophical, political, and literary theories I could get a grip on. I followed my curiosities. I read Wollstonecraft, Plato, Thoreau, Kierkegaard, Anderson, and pages and pages of others under the evergreens at the State Park. I discussed those words and what they might mean in kitchen conversations with a friend around the refrigerator where we drew dry-erase outlines as we talked. I posed ideas, and I had them critiqued and refined, in class, in papers, in conversations. I was privileged to be in small, close classes taught by professors of the highest-possible caliber, and in the company of friends and classmates who were inquisitive, bright, and generous in the sharing of their thoughts and ideas. And I can say, four years later, that my world was irremeably changed.

Frost’s ‘Yet knowing how way leads on to way,’ proved true, leading from the undergraduate program at CSC, to the graduate program at the University of Vermont. Following the completion of my thesis, Bastardized Being: Arguing the Grotesque as Objet Petit a, or What Can Be Had of the Successful Existential Individual in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, I married a native Vermonter, and went to work in a small public library which, in the craziness of grad school, had become another way I decided I wanted to follow. I do not for a moment regret majoring in English, and I treasure my time at CSC and the people there who not only shared that part of the journey, but gave me glimpses of so many more places to go.

Get Outside Yourself Short Story