St. Norbert College Alum Interview
Have you ever wondered what possibilities awaited those who majored in English at a liberal arts college, specifically here at St. Norbert’s? To answer this question I had the awesome opportunity to interview a recent graduate, Catherine Gundrum, who majored in English here at St. Norbert’s for my Writing for the World English 289 class. Through this interview I was able to get insight into why Catherine chose St. Norbert’s, what life was like for Catherine at SNC, how life has been since she graduated, and I received helpful suggestions for current students.
What attracted Catherine to St. Norbert’s was the size and the education. Despite being a college of only 1,800 students, this appealed to Catherine. Another item which appealed to her was the incorporation of liberal arts within the academics. Catherine knew that liberal arts were associated with the humanities, which is something she’s passionate about and wanted to study while at SNC.
At SNC Catherine double majored in English and Philosophy. Through her studies, particularly of English, Catherine found a lot of enjoyment in her academics, improved her grammar skills, and close reading techniques. Today, Gundrum finds it fascinating that she is able to recognize critiques when watching movies or TV shows because of the close reading skills she gained during her studies at SNC. Catherine’s studies also helped her to think ‘outside of the box’ and explain herself more clearly when talking and writing.
These studies also aided Catherine in her future career. In Catherine’s English studies she gained knowledge on supporting arguments with claims and evidence which carried over to the work she does as a fundraiser and event coordinator at the March of Dimes. Gundrum’s English classes prepared her for the interview she had for this job and the work she does, since in English you focus on getting the main points across and selecting the right words. Most of the work Catherine does correlates with the English classes she took because both focus on the ‘why’: why should I donate to March of Dimes and why should I read my story, essay, etc. The majority of Catherine’s work consists of raising funds for a Gala held each year in November and a lot of the knowledge she acquired from her English studies has benefited her when working with possible benefactors or volunteers for the event.
Catherine’s success doesn’t just stem from English. Gundrum has had some experiences which she reflected on and provided feedback on during our interview. She recommends letting your passions seep into your work, so that you enjoy the work you do and have purpose behind what you do. Catherine also suggests pursuing multiple internships in potential careers so you can narrow down which career you truly want to pursue. An example of this can be found in Gundrum’s aspirations of becoming a teacher. Catherine had the opportunity to become a tutor and quickly realized teaching wasn’t right for her through this experience. If you don’t like something don’t pursue it, plain and simple. Another piece of advice Catherine gave me “is to utilize your professors so much that they probably get annoyed by you” and to know that professors are intelligent and caring people. If you have a resource, like a professor, use it. Catherine commented on how when you get your first job or a new job, don’t be so critical of yourself. Having a new job or occupation is difficult, but approach with confidence and compassion especially towards yourself. Gundrum also cites the significance of getting your priorities straight and getting involved as much as you can, but realizing the importance of detoxing from school and activities. In other words, having an equal balance of school and extracurriculars where you feel comfortable with your situation and feel like you can succeed. School is important, but so are you and your mental health.
In conclusion, my hope as the writer of this Blogpost is that you enjoyed learning more about St. Norbert College specifically the English classes and the hidden benefits it has. Through Catherine Gundrum’s story and interview you can see English influenced Catherine’s life and helped her in her future career. Yes there are many unknowns when you major in English, but there are also many hidden gems in studying English or any humanities degree at a liberal arts college. And our hope is that you find this hidden gem here at St. Norbert’s just as Catherine and I have, along with so many others.