Erica Choi

Class of 2018

I’m a member of the Class of 2018 from Bronxville, New York, majoring in Classics.

Role(s) held in the Humanistic Studies Program:

Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows

Activities on campus:

Princeton Model United Nations, Princeton Business Volunteers, Research Assistant at Rare Books Collection, Daily Princetonian

Why I decided to study the humanities:

I have never loved anything as much as I love Classics. Latin is a beautiful language that can evoke vivid imagery with its flexible word order. I feel alive when I try to forge a coherent argument regarding Vergilian concept of time or Ovidian treatment of rape victims. I do not think that my time at Princeton would have been as fulfilling, engaging, and – dare I say it – happy had I not majored in Classics.

What I have gained from the humanities:

People tend to focus on the practical skills that students of the humanities can gain in describing what benefits they have reaped from majoring in the humanities: becoming a more critical reader, a more effective writer, and a better thinker. But more importantly than these, I have fun when I read classical literature. The Latin language filled me with wonder from day one, and I find that my love for its literature grows the more I study it. I remember the exhilaration I felt when I spotted my very first ablative absolute in the wild or when I finally figured out what on earth Lucretius was talking about. I think that people talk about practical skills that one can gain from majoring in the humanities because they want to defend it. Hence, both those outside of the humanities and those in it focus on the continuing relevance and usefulness as well as the marketability (or the lack thereof) of specializing in disciplines like Comparative Literature, Classics, or Art History. I humbly submit the notion that the greatest gift any discipline can give us is the sheer joy of studying it.

What I have gained from the HUM Sequence:

After completing the HUM Sequence my freshman year, I went on the HUM trip to Rome with Prof. Feeney and Prof. Berger. Seeing the city that had been home to bustling political activity, intellectual thinking, and some of my favorite poets was an unforgettable experience. It was during this trip that I realized that I should be a Classics major.

Independent work:

My spring junior paper examines how the rise of American feminism and sexual revolution changed the translation practices of the numerous rapes of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

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