English Literature major
Hi, I'm Jackie Szymanski, an English Literature major minoring in History from Kane, a wee town in northwestern PA. When I started looking into colleges, I knew I wanted a high-quality liberal arts school, but not one that took itself too seriously (I had previously visited one college that forbade its students to walk on the campus grass – any of it!). Lycoming was the first interview I had after submitting applications, and I was terrified. However I found the admissions staff friendly and welcoming which made me feel completely at ease.
I've had a passion for literature for as long as I can remember. When I misbehaved as a kid, instead of revoking TV privileges, my mom took away my library books. No joke. There's something thrilling about the way mere words on a page (if skillfully composed) can transport you to any destination imaginable. Lycoming's English department is fortunate to employ talented professors like Darby Lewes and Todd Preston, who not only impart the necessary information, but do so with an infectious zeal. It's not all a breeze, though. Most lit courses at Lyco are intense affairs, always involving rigorous analysis and discussion of a text, but I rarely walk out of the classroom without a renewed appreciation for my field of study.
I studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh, in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is officially the single best decision I have ever made. In addition to exploring Scotland, I spent three weeks wandering through Europe. Eleven countries and many new friends later, it became apparent that the world is chock full of interesting characters and experiences. I owe a lot to the Lyco Study Abroad Office, for making that wonderful connection to the University of Edinburgh available, and also for making the study abroad process so easy to negotiate. It was the experience of a lifetime.
Since it's a small school, by the end of your four years you'll probably recognize every face you come across during the course of a day. It's sometimes hard to walk across campus without saying hi to at least a dozen people. Personally, I adore that aspect of Lyco and consider that one of its primary charms. Between holding epic Nerf battles in the residence halls, sledding on the quad in the winter and just hanging out with good pals, "what to do" has never been an issue. Outside of my studies, I'm involved as a leader in United Campus Ministries, I'm a member of the History Club and Habitat for Humanity, and I'm working for the offices of Safety and Security and College Relations, and will soon be co-writing an opinion column for the Lycourier student newspaper.
I still have trouble giving a definite answer to that inevitable question: What do I want to be when I grow up? There are so many possibilities. Working in a publishing house had been my original goal since high school, but after spending some time traversing Europe, I've realized that seeing as much of the world as possible has become a sort of obsession for me. I'm currently considering a career as a travel writer. But whatever happens, I'm definitely excited to begin the next chapter of my life. For now, I plan on spending a lot of time consulting with Career Services and looking into all my options.