(as of winter, 2010, a graduate student in German at Ohio State University)
Coming to Middlebury, I planned on majoring in International Politics and Economics or French or History or Religion or Political Science . . . it was all very nebulous. I signed up for a German class in my first semester because I wanted to keep my linguistic options open—I'd taken German in high school and didn't want to forget it, just in case—and was immediately overwhelmed. I was one of three freshmen in a 400-level seminar, the only student in the class who hadn't spent any significant time in Germany. Thinking to improve my German, I signed up to be in the German-language theater production. Though I struggled initially, something about the people of the department kept me afloat, kept me facing my challenges, kept me wading through snow to make it to coffee hour on Friday afternoon . . . it takes a truly crazy department or a truly crazy student to complete a major twice, but I did. And along the way, I sang alto in Brecht's Threepenny Opera. I took mainstream university classes in Germany. I wrote a 60-page senior thesis. I lived (and baked) in the German house. I emailed my professors at midnight, only to have them email me back at 12:05. It was crazy. It was wonderful. The department won't say this, but I'll say it for them—they're some of my favorite people on the planet. The most impassioned teachers, dedicated mentors, and fun-loving goofballs you'll ever meet.