The two most common assumptions that people make about me getting a master’s degree in English are:
- That I will correct everyone’s grammar. That this is something I actually love to do and that I will spend my free time reading over any paper that you want me to in order to catch your grammar mistakes. It’s not a “hobby” of mine and, no, I won’t do that.
- That I must love Shakespeare.
And, I do. I love Shakespeare. Maybe not enough to study him for the rest of my life, but I do enjoy reading his plays and seeing them performed.
Anyway, I needed to have a post dedicated to the Bard. He’s influenced my career greatly. Or at least reading him has.
The first professor that I had for a Shakespeare class (I’d read Shakespeare in other classes, but never as a focus) was one of the first professors that made me consider grad school. He made me feel smart when it came to something complicated like Shakespeare. He always valued my opinions in class and I enjoyed reading Shakespeare.
Out of that class alone, I was introduced to some of my favorite characters: Beatrice (although I found her annoying when I first read “Much Ado About Nothing”), Helena, Richard III, Regan, King Lear, Hamlet.
When I finally made it to graduate school, I took a Renaissance Lit class with another professor. One who would soon become one of my favorites and someone that I idolized as an academic. She also valued my opinion when it came to Shakespeare and introduced me to the idea of reading Shakespeare under the lens of ecocriticism, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Seriously, looking at “As You Like It” as social commentary about deforestation in 16th Europe was super interesting and I urge anyone to research it if it sounds even vaguely interesting.
Without professors like that, I wouldn’t be the student I am today. I may not even be in academia. So, thank you professors. And thank you Shakespeare for inspiring those professors.