Literature has always been a big part of my life. Everyday, when I was younger, my mother would read to me. Each evening, I would close my eyes, and the words transported me to imaginary worlds filled with enchanting adventures and wondrous happenings. Within those pages, anything was possible. My obsession with literature and the places that books could take me began then.
As time went on, I read everything I could get my hands on. My brothers were years older, and because of their classes’ reading list, they introduced me to classic literature at a very young age. While my friends were reading “The Babysitter’s Club,” I was spending time with Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare and making up lesson plans for a classroom filled with my most intelligent stuffed animals, their eyes wide with excitement for the day’s lessons.
My love for literature has stood the test of time. I fell in love with the intricacies of the classic novels. I loved analyzing the text and explaining to complete strangers why these authors were such geniuses. Slowly, throughout high school, I broadened my literary spectrum to include Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Oscar Wilde. I began writing research papers about what I was reading, so I could explain to others a different way of looking at the novels. Every now and again, I would pull those same wide-eyed stuffed animals out and give them a brush-up lesson on literature.
In Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen wrote, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” Though this is a bit of an exaggeration, I believe that literature is able to open the mind to new possibilities. Going deeper than the words on the page allows people to build their critical thinking skills, sometimes without even noticing it. This is why I want to teach literature. Because the beauty of literature is that it is able to sneak up on the reader and show him or her something they never thought they’d see. I want to help people make that journey.
I don’t want to just teach literature; I want everyone to be able to experience it because literature isn’t about words and paper; it’s about emotion and imagination. True literature doesn’t have to be a novel; it just needs to be able to transport a person to a different place. It’s magical. Words that can cause the human body to experience emotions by connecting to fictional characters and creatures that the authors create in his or her works.
For this, the next step in my journey to achieve this goal is applying to graduate programs. I have several schools on my list, but currently, my favorite is University of Edinburgh (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle attended). They have a MSc in Literature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic, and Victorian, which is where my passion for literature lies. I will be applying later this year, and hopefully, I will be accepted.
You may ask, “Why Europe?” or “Aren’t there plenty of schools here?”
Yes, there are plenty of schools here, and many of them are great schools. However, it has been a lifelong dream of mine to live abroad.. and more specifically, live in the UK or Ireland. So much so that, when I was a child, I would speak in a British accent whenever my mother and I were out in public (and by British accent.. let’s be honest.. I was 6 or 7.. it probably was an awful attempt at a British accent).
Even more so than that, though I love many American authors, books, and stories, my true passion for literature lies in British literature.. and more towards the classics than anything. As, I stated above, I loved Shakespeare when I was very young. By fifth grade (aged 10), I had the complete works of Shakespeare in one book and spent a lot of my time reading his sonnets and acting out his plays. When my brother was a freshman in high school, he had to read Great Expectations… I read it as soon as he finished it (I was also still 10). I read Les Miserables when I was 9… I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I loved it. Needless to say, I was weird child.
Now, I have the chance of a lifetime to travel to and live in the land that produced so many of my favorite authors that helped shaped my childhood.. and my life. I have no husband, children, or any plans to have either on the horizon. So, the question shouldn’t be “Why?” It is most definitely and will forever be “Why not?”