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Embrace the unfamiliar

Humanities 320: A class that was picked out of panic of not having enough classes for the semester and only having 30 minutes to select. So, I clicked on the first course that I saw and it was HUM 320. I had no idea as to what it would contain. Turns out it was about bookmaking and the history of books. For someone who didn't really care for books, this class somehow made them interesting and impactful. Every day I pass a book, and now I view it completely different. If I could explain to you how that is I would, but you’ve just got to try it out for yourself. Try changing your perspective by taking classes outside of your interests, they might have an impact on you!

My professors, Rachel Makarowski and Anna Klosowska, taught this class unlike any other. The effort and dedication it takes to run a class as they were able to do was admirable and inspiring, and they should know how much I appreciate them. I am a hands-on and visual learner, and although there are times when this isn’t an option, they made it possible for me to understand what was being taught, making it easy to be attentive and intrigued.

Yet what made this class captivating was not only the professors, ultimately it had to do with the coursework and topics. For example, we talked a lot about book bindings and the various kinds, and trust me, there are more than you think. We also learned about transcription and transliteration, the process of transferring a word from the alphabet of one language to another. 

We talked about manuscripts and the vast amount of aspects that pertain to them. There are different kinds such as folio, corto and octavo. I learned how they are split into multiple leaves, and how to identify their differences. That process alone is one of the most fascinating things I’ve learned in college. The formula you create while you’re identifying them makes you feel like a rocket scientist after completing it, and the best thing is that it’s not even remotely hard to do.

Although you may find these topics boring and mundane, believe me I would 100% agree with you if I hadn’t taken this course, I assure you that somehow, some way, these professors made that information valuable and engaging. 

As a young student at the beginning of their journey through college, I still may not be sure what I want to do with my life. This is the case for many students here at Miami University, but taking new classes can help broaden your perspective on the world and help you find your place in it. A challenge that I faced when not initially interested in classes was to zone out. I grew out of that habit, and thankfully I did because I would have missed out on a huge amount of knowledge that I gained from this course. It gave me a massive amount of respect for different cultures around the world, such as Chinese calligraphy, something that looks extremely simple but is extraordinarily difficult to create, taking years out of kids’ lives to master.

To the reader, I urge every one of you to jump out of your comfort zone and take classes that you think you won’t find interesting. Maybe that class will lead you to an interest that you never knew you had. It could start a burning passion that leads to a prosperous career and future, allowing you to find happiness and satisfaction in your life.

JD Leverette is a first-year student-athlete, majoring in forensic psychology with a minor in Spanish also competing in track and field. Coming into college JD has collected many credits through a program in high school allowing him to receive an associate’s degree in electro-mechanical engineering.

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