Monday, April 25, 2011

A most American Studies Easter Break

Senior year is almost over. This will likely be my last blog and testament since there are a number of papers I need to finish and polish, and I was never quite as good at blogging as I should have been to begin with.

Over the Easter Break I visited the Philadelphia, described by fellow blogger and very good friend Kaylyn as the "Birthplace of America." While my Virginian sensibility kicked in at this claim (causing Kaylyn to very nearly turn the car around) I do appreciate the great historical place this city of brotherly love has for the United States (after the state of Virginia voted on independence and brought it to the Continental Congress (See 1776 for a delightful musical version of these events)).

We saw a few of the sites you would expect, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin's Grave
Here is the hilarious epitaph that Franklin wrote for himself in his youth "never intended for actual use" it lives on on a plaque next to his grave.

We walked South Street for most of its length, stopping in a recycled art store where I was very tempted to buy a bowl made from a melted record. I ate the requisite Philly Cheesesteak which, despite my fears, was actually better than the one I usually get at the bodega down the street.

So, as for the last blog and testament part. It's been an interesting four years. For any potential Fordham students or current undecided students out there, look into the American Studies program. I hear many of my friends complain that their advisor doesn't know who they are, that they feel on their own academicswise. No one in the American Studies program feels that way. The program really does become a tight knit community. I would consider all of the American Studies majors in my year a friend, and over the last three years we have watched and encouraged each other's academic growth. Prof. Gold's Major Developments in American Cultural class was a high point in my college career. There is no doubt in my mind that Prof Hendler truly cares about the success of every student in the major, not to mention his son is almost too adorable at advising meetings. Profs Aronson and Cahill were a nearly perfect combination of approaches and demeanors for the Senior Seminar.

This program gave me the freedom to chose from a wide variety of subjects (from Funk music to The Postmodern American Novel) while requiring of me a sense of academic rigor that I sense is lacking from the college experiences of some of my peers.

I'm moving out to St. Louis to freelance as an electrician in theaters with the hope of being accepted to a playwriting MFA in a years time. To a lot of people that might seem completely unrelated to American Studies, let me assure you it is not. The American Studies major provides its students with the academic discipline to achieve in any number of post-graduate pursuits. It is a major that encourages both individualism (and what could be more American) and cooperative group work towards common goals (and what could be more American). I know I have sent a few of my younger friends towards the program, and I couldn't be happier that they are continuing the pursuit. I encourage everyone to look into this major as I can't imagine having gone through the last four years in any other program. Thank you Prof Hendler, Prof Gold, Prof Aronson, and Prof Cahill, you have truly made a difference in my life and you are mentors that I will remember for years to come.

(sorry for getting sentimental)

-Taylor Riccio