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Major Moment: Literatures in English with Bethany Wisdom '24

Hometown: Llanelli, Wales, UK
"Enjoy the process of exploring and growing, it will only give you more clarity and more chances to discover what you really love learning!"

"Enjoy the process of exploring and growing, it will only give you more clarity and more chances to discover what you really love learning!"

Originally from Llanelli, Wales UK, Beth (pictured centered) understands first-hand the importance of making college a home away from home. When she is not working with prospective students in the ϲʿ Office, she works with current students as a Hall Advisor and International Student Exchange Coordinator. Beth ensures that students in varying places on their Bryn Mawr journey feel at home on campus.  Although her involvement extends across campus communities, her academic journey features two beautiful buildings, Goodhart Hall as a theater minor and English House, as an English major.  She tells us about her path to English Literature – a subject she says has remained a “constant” among her interests.  

What is your major and how did you first become interested in it?  

Literatures in English is my major, and it’s always been something I’ve been passionate about and interested in – ever since I was little and fell in love with so many stories from so many different places. I loved the way that books transported me to so many different situations and people!  

Did you enter college knowing what you wanted to major in? How have the classes you’ve taken at BMC either confirmed your interest in the major or surprised you with a new interest?  

When I came to Bryn Mawr, I was so excited by the liberal arts system – it's so different to the systems we have at university in the UK, and I was so enthralled by the idea of studying a wide range of subjects. In my first year at Bryn Mawr, even though I thought I thought I would end up choosing English, I decided to take classes in everything else I could imagine enjoying. I jumped into political science, sociology, and classics, but all along I felt English as a constant. I turned properly back towards English in my sophomore year, and I’m so glad I did. 

Favorite class you’ve taken for your major?  

My favourite class honestly is a toss-up – between Contemporary Women Writers, an English class I took at Haverford, or Medieval Childhoods, a lovely course I took in English House at Bryn Mawr.  

What experiential learning opportunities have you had with your major or minor?  

I was in an incredible class called “Spaces of Possibility” in Spring 2023, this was a Praxis course, and as a class we were invited to a public middle school in Philly where we explored theater, specifically the Greek tragic play Antigone with the students. It was such a valuable opportunity—a blessing to get to go off campus and explore Philly once a week, but also a wonderful chance to connect with students explore what it means to act and tell stories together. It was incredible – we let the students lead their experience and drive the project where they wanted to see it go, and by the end of the semester we had a show. The students came to Bryn Mawr to perform, and students and staff alike came to support them as they showed off their hard work. It was so impactful to me, and I loved the opportunity to apply the practices and core beliefs we were learning in the classroom to real life.  

How has choosing this major shaped your post-graduation plans?   

I feel that choosing Literatures in English has opened so much for me—I'm eager to continue my studies and head to a graduate program in Literature ultimately. In the meantime, I’m hoping to move into the world of student support and advising, university admissions, or helping students access higher education. The skills I’ve gained in analysis and communication will benefit me so much as I enter these fields, and I am so excited to move into a new direction, though I know, as always, the love I have for the study of literature will follow me everywhere. 

What advice would you give on the process of declaring a major?  

Even if you think you know what you want to specialize in, try so many other things first! Enjoy the process of exploring and growing, it will only give you more clarity and more chances to discover what you really love learning! 

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