Q & A with Tess Stalls
You will come out with the skills and tools needed to thrive as a learner and deepen your enjoyment of literature, but also enter the world with knowledge that can help you navigate everyday life in an articulate and creative manner.
Why did you decide to study English?
When I first graduated from high school, I was not sure what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I ended up enrolling as a nursing major as my fallback while I considered my options. During my first semester, I realized that I had become more of a tutor than a typical classmate in my courses and that it had been something I really enjoyed doing. Factoring in my love for working with children, it became clear what I wanted to do as my career. As I want to be able to teach higher level students, the Department of English was the most suitable for me in comparison to an early education degree.
What was your favorite class that you took in your major? And why?
My favorite class I have taken so far would have to be my Old to Middle English Medieval Literature class. There are a few reasons for this. I firmly believe that a teacher or professor holds a strong influence on how their students will consider the course and teachings. Fortunately, I had a truly wonderful professor of which anyone could see their passion for the topics discussed. I’ve always enjoyed reading about medieval literature when I was younger, and the course made it feel so much more real. We were taught how to translate Old English and were able to have our own interpretation of the works being discussed using the tools we were shown. While there was a bit of work to it, it was the most entertaining course I have had in a long time.
Who was your favorite professor in your major? And why?
My favorite professor would have to be the intelligent woman who taught me about Old to Middle English Medieval Literature, Dr. Sachi Shimomura. She has been one of the most pleasant professors I have met and had the pleasure of learning under. Her care, consideration, as well as her passion for teaching medieval literature was evident within the short time I had her as a professor. She listened to us, our struggles and worries regarding our grades and assignments. Dr. Shimomura was always more than happy to work with us in order for her students to feel more comfortable and come out of her class doing their best. Going to class consistently can begin to feel like a chore, but her course was always a fun and mood brightening time during a tiring school day.
Can you tell us about your study abroad experience?
This fall I will be traveling to South Korea as part of a study abroad program. I am absolutely ecstatic over this opportunity and the ability to learn more about a country in which I would like to work sometime in the future. In addition to becoming a secondary English teacher, my goal is to become an English Second Language teacher as well. South Korea has always been a country of fascination for me, and I know that it is the first place I would want to work abroad upon completing my degree. In addition to my major, I am minoring in Asian and Chinese studies. By going abroad, it allows me to learn more about the country I would like to work in while also working towards completing my minor. As a future teacher, I want to be able to understand my students abroad as well, and in order to do this I have to learn about the culture, history and lifestyle.
Why should students consider English as a major?
Being an English major is not just reading and writing on a variety of works. If you enjoy analyzing, discovering your own interpretations and gaining a deeper understanding of the classic literature taught to us from a young age to now, this is the major for you. Being an English major does not necessarily mean you will come out as an English teacher or novelist. You will come out with the skills and tools needed to thrive as a learner and deepen your enjoyment of literature, but also enter the world with knowledge that can help you navigate everyday life in an articulate and creative manner.
Check out Tess's AMA (ask-me-anything) story highlight on our Instagram page.