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An Hour as an English Major!

Posted by on Sunday, March 6, 2016 in Academics, College Life, College of Arts and Science, Creative Writing, Extracurriculars, Student Life, Student Organizations.

It’s January 27th, 2016 and I, Sophie Druffner, am mired in work. There’s my Italian film class, the homework for my math class, and the catchup for chemistry I have to do. But there’s also Harmonies for the Elderly, teaching violin at the W.O. Smith School, being Minister of Joy for University Catholic,  and starting to attend research seminars as part of the SyBURRE research program for future involvement in the program. And as usual, there’s the normal series of lunch dates and breakfast meetings, tea on Thursday and coffee on Friday.

Yet, here I am, writing an Inside Dores post.

The stress that applied to me during the college application system is almost starting to come back. Part of me worries I’m doing too much—in addition to all the activities, I’m coordinating a Mayfield (we’re almost done) and taking swing dancing classes at the Rec. But then there’s the long conversations at Cohen with my best friends, the tea in the fireside lounge at commons with members of my Mayfield, and the loveliness of doing homework with my friends. (Homework being defined as writing this post :)) Because we all know that Real Homework never gets done with friends.

Vanderbilt is an amazing place.

But you can’t do everything. A day ago I had officially dropped the first class on the road to the English Major with a Concentration in Creative Writing.


“I’ve always wanted to be a Creative Writing Major.” I sat on the couch in Frassati House in November, rethinking my life. My best friend, Robbie, sat next to me, as we wrote the blog for Unversity Catholic. I’ve always loved writing and I wanted a major, in addition to my Applied Mathematics major, in order to explore there.

So there I sat, in the 9:10 AM Introduction to Literary Study class, thrilled. I was starting The Real Dream! I was beginning on the path I had always wanted to travel!

And… then we started discussing the syllabus. Originally, the syllabus had mentioned books such as Pride and Prejudice (!!!), a book by Aristophanes called Lysistrata, where Athenian women decide to go on a sex-strike until their husbands win the Athens-Sparta war, and another classic novel. I was ready to embark on a journey of these novels; I couldn’t wait to add reading to the math proofs and innumerable chem problems!

And then… the class put in their two cents. By the end of the class, we were set to read the first book of the Fifty Shades of Grey series and analyze song lyrics as part of the curriculum (and by the second class, all three books of Fifty Shades were added to the curriculum). Although analyzing song lyrics sounded interesting and different, I couldn’t justify spending my time reading Fifty Shades of Grey, especially because I had read at least five reviews in notable publications writing about the poor literary writing style. And the plot line surely couldn’t be an “example of modern love,” which was why we were reading it for the class. After considering the 14 hours I was already taking (class time actually was 17.5 hours, with the 4.5 orchestra class counting as 1 credit hour), I couldn’t justify spending time on Fifty Shades of Grey nor song lyrics.

Which is not to say that this class is an example of the whole English department, nor all the Introduction to Literary Study courses, nor even a bad example of a class in general. There was so much to be derived from that class, but college is about deciding, every day, where to spend your time. And between all the things I was embarking on that semester—research through the SyBBURE program, the Christian sorority Sigma Phi Lambda, as well as putting even more time into studying, I didn’t have time to put into anything that I couldn’t see a ton of benefit in.

So yes, it’s cliché that college is all about time management, but it’s true. And even though there’s a ton of stress in trying to figure out how to get everything done and still get five to six hours of sleep a night, it’s worth it. Because Vanderbilt is amazing.

(So amazing! Questions about how amazing it is? Contact me at!)

Ever so sincerely,


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