Hello, gentle reader! It’s the beginning of the school year, which means the only conversation opener anyone has heard in a while is “So where are you from? What do you study?” And sure, I could come up with something really creative and inventive to start out here, but grad students are required to have unique, innovative thoughts an awful lot. There’s no reason to start blowing through innovative thoughts in September!
I wouldn’t exactly say I’m your standard, Classics graduate student. I went to a small high school in rural northern California that didn’t even offer Latin (or German, or French . . . California schools are not in good shape right now!). I finally discovered the glorious Classics major in my second year at UC Berkeley, after a bit of a detour through chemical engineering, physics, history, and religious studies. Once I finally discovered Greek and Latin though, I loved it! In fact, I loved it all the way to a five year stay in Berkeley. I finally graduated and did what all Classics grads go on to do—I worked in finance for 2 years. While I very much enjoyed my brief stay among the 1%, I decided that buying and selling financial derivatives was not my dream career. I finally returned to academia, having made sure the grass was not in fact greener over on the 9-to-5 desk job side of things (or 4:30 am-to-3:00 pm as it turned out, which may have contributed to my decision that it wasn’t my dream job).
The last step of the long and winding road that led me to Ann Arbor was the actual move. As soon as all my California friends heard that I was moving to the Midwest, I got unsolicited news articles of every strange and unusual thing that happened in Michigan. Whether it was the number of militias or the average humidity, I began to see a state that was very different from my San Francisco home. To be fair, I still haven’t gotten used to the extreme cold and humidity (with what seems like 1 week of nice weather in between, in a good year). But aside from the weather, Ann Arbor turned out to be a cute, liberal town with great food and great music—very much the “Berkeley of the Midwest” that I’d heard about! If only grad students had a bit less work and a bit more free time, I could check out more of the cool things my new home has to offer!
About the Author
Amy Pistone, Ph.D. Student, Classical Studies
Published in: Student Voices