Favorite class influences decision on thesis topic
I’ve taken a lot of literature classes in my lifetime, but to this day I’ve never loved one quite as much as lit for young adults.
I realize I’m writing this column a tad late – only three semesters after I took the class – but I didn’t appreciate it nearly as much at the time as I do now.
The class, taught by Sally LeVan, an English professor at Gannon, incorporated several books generally read by young adults. Some, like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” were tougher to get through and are generally used more for educational purposes than entertainment.
Others, like Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games,” were purely fun to read, although that definitely has educational merit, too. That class was actually what got me into the “Hunger Games” series – I hadn’t even heard of it before then.
I have loved young adult literature since I started reading it in middle school, but I didn’t appreciate its true value until I took that class.
Young people – and college students still fit into this category – learn so much from the books they read. The learning doesn’t stop at young adulthood, but the literature is a fundamental step in the learning process, particularly for avid readers.
And when the books are genuinely fun to read, like all the ones we read in the class were, young adults don’t even notice they’re learning. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book.
Since I loved the class so much, I took what I learned along with me to English 400 – my thesis class, which I’m in this semester. I decided not to use any of the novels we read in the young adult lit class, but instead I’m exploring some more on my own.
I ended up settling on a topic that incorporates my two favorite things – books and movies – for a thesis about using film adaptations effectively in the classroom.
As with any senior project, the thesis is going to be a lot of work – that was unavoidable. But I think I succeeded in my goal of picking a topic I really enjoy. And so far, after writing about three pages of it, I’m still enthralled.
As you undoubtedly know from some of my previous columns, I am a major procrastinator. I can’t help but do all my school work at the last minute.
But, for probably the first time in my life, I really feel like working on this project. Though I started a little later than I wanted, I managed to get three pages out without a problem. And if I hadn’t had to write this column, I probably would have written more. I’m actually looking forward to Thursday, when I can get more of my thoughts on the page.
While I’ve still got the rest of the semester, upwards of 17 pages, countless hours of agonizing editing and a life-threatening oral presentation to get through, I’m confident that this is a topic I’ll be happy with – and an end product I’ll be proud of – when all is said and done.
And then it’s time to figure out the rest of my life.
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