College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Department of English

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Cassie Torrence

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1. What drew you to the major?

My passion for reading has extended for as long as I can remember; I knew from the start that I would most likely end up pursuing an English major when I entered Case Western. Aside from the old (though true nonetheless) adage that books are a transport to romantic, exotic lands, the study of literature truly opens doors to every conceivable topic. From scientific to religious theory, the wealth of ancient civilizations to possibilities of an extra-terrestrial future, the study of literature offers countless perspectives to each of these microcosms. Case’s English department offers a broad array of courses that correspond with a huge spectrum of interests. I am drawn to the department in particular because I feel that English enhances empathy and intuition that, when synthesized with research and analysis, create a more complete understanding of the human experience.

2. How has your English major prepared you for life after graduation?

Though I am only rounding the corner of my second year at Case, I already understand some of the ways that my degree in English will help shape my future. Communication is the most apparent advantage of an English BA. As we move into this fast-paced, digital age, many forget the importance of clear and succinct writing. Writing is a chief form of communication which, when neglected, can lead to misunderstanding, misinformation, and squandered time. The English Department has allowed me to hone my verbal communication skills in the form of persuasive discussion and presentation. I feel confident that I will be able to make myself understood in any situation in my future.

I also feel that my BA in English has allowed me to tap into a multitude of cultural studies, both historical and contemporary. Literature, when studied as a reflection of a society, introduces the student to the world in ways that other, very concentrated fields do not.

3. What is it like being an English major at Case in particular, with its perceived focus on the sciences?

Being an English major here is no cake-walk compared to the sciences, as some may hold. Reading and writing are not to be devalued to test tubes and calculators. The two coexist and benefit from one another when preconceived notions are set aside. Clear communication enforces concise empirical evidence and vice versa.

Mather quad hosts a star-studded department, boasting some of the most interesting and challenging courses offered at the school. The work I do is certainly different than many of my peers. I don’t often find myself cramming for big tests, late into the night. I also do not attend SI sessions or join big study groups. Instead I find myself at the writing center, or grabbing coffee with a friend to peer edit papers or bounce around ideas. Again, it is different type of experience but my growth from it has been exponential.

4. Why would you encourage a prospective English major to sign on?

Come join us! The English department is open, flexible, and diverse. Unlike many of the big lecture classes, the English department creates a warm and personal environment. With small class numbers, the courses I’ve enjoyed here present the opportunity to interact with my peers and professors. My input is not solely appreciated but demanded and in turn, respected, even challenged. I feel valued in ways impossible to find in a 300-person lecture hall. The benefits small class sizes and personal relationships with professors enrich the college experience and grant students invaluable connections. The humanities feel bonded, the English department its own thriving community within the greater whole of the university.

There is always something going on in the department. Books are being published, talks given, films screened. My teachers have been engaging and dynamic, experts in their fields. If you are looking for passionate professors, small classes, and interesting topics, this is your destination.