Hello from Katie Kois, Graduating senior of Modern Languages and Classics at Ball State University,
Before beginning college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Of course, this is a common experience for incoming students, but it took me a while to settle on a career path. One of the only constants in my educational journey throughout the past four years was being able to grow and adapt as a language-learner. As an incoming freshman, during orientation, I asked, “How soon can I declare a second major?” Stunned by my question, the advisor said, “Right now. I guess.” This is when I officially announced my pursuit of my double major in Spanish.
I started studying Spanish when I was in 6th grade at 11 years old. I quickly fell in love with learning languages. It felt like I was constantly solving puzzles in my head, and I enjoyed the way that studying language challenged me. Little did I know it would become such a big part of my life 11 years later.
While pursuing my major in Spanish, I have learned a lot. A lot about myself, others, and the world around me. I started off with a concentration in linguistics but after taking two classes that allowed me to read many kinds of literature, I continued to feel inspired to read and learn; I knew that I wanted to shift my focus to studying literature. As a literary studies major, I have been able to take more literature courses, where I have been able to read classic literature, like Chac Mool and Don Quijote, as well as contemporary literature from authors like Gloria Anzaldúa.
In the past 4 years, I have had numerous opportunities to grow my language-learning abilities. My freshman year, I was able to volunteer at Burris to teach Spanish to 4th graders. Even though my freshman year was cut short by the pandemic, I was able to participate in virtual conversation with individuals in different Spanish-speaking countries like Peru and Colombia.
Sophomore year, I read pieces of literature that challenged me in ways that I never knew I could be challenged. As the world felt like it was still in shambles from the recent quarantine, my class had tough conversations about the struggles that marginalized individuals continue to face and how we can be better allies to one another. I also had the opportunity to join the foreign language honor society, Alpha Mu Gamma.
Junior year, I spent the spring semester with Dr. Hessel studying Miguel Cervantes through Don Quijote and Los Entremeses. The creative projects that we made in these classes helped me to problem solve to complete a podcast and make a short film. I also served on the executive board for the foreign language honor society, Alpha Mu Gamma, as the director of social media.
Just this year, while taking the Medical Spanish course, I had the opportunity to work with the Jefferson County Health Department to translate vaccination documents for local families. In Latin American Studies, I was able to explore different topics and write my final paper on the representation of masculinity and misogyny in “How the Garcia Girls lost their accents” and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” two pieces of literature that explored the Dominican diaspora. I was able to take my first linguistics course, and with the help of Dr. Pak, I have successfully navigated this material.
I have also been fortunate enough to serve as the president for AMG and plan one of the largest departmental events of the year, Harvest Fest. This event has historically been an amazing opportunity for all students in the MLC to network and foster relationships within the department.
My favorite part about the courses, opportunities, and experiences that I have been able to have with the Modern Language and Classics department is that our professors, faculty and staff strive to give us diverse and immersive experiences. As I am graduating in 2 weeks, I confidently believe that these opportunities are going to help me as I pursue my next stages of life.
Overall, looking back on the last four years, I couldn’t have expected to have all the amazing experiences that I have had. I am grateful and humbled by the opportunities that I have been given by the Modern Language and Classics department and I will cherish these experiences for a long time.
Ball State Modern Languages and Classics graduating senior