Pixar’s cleverly titled 2003 release, “Finding Nemo” (from the Latin: nemo, neminis, meaning no-one) references the hubristic wanderings of Odysseus, as well as the dichotomy inherent in the Greek word eu/u-topia—simultaneously ‘no place’ and ‘the ideal place.’ A father clown fish embarks on an epic journey through open waters and the Great Barrier reef, searching for his lost son; but with new friends and new experiences, what he finds is himself. In this way, the G-rated movie actually discusses a more mature content through animation—the human journey of finding the ideal self. Riveted, I listened as Dr. Davis, professor of Classics, spoke. While her attempt to demonstrate the pervasiveness of classics in the everyday fell mostly upon deaf ears, something deep inside me awoke in that summer session 1 heat. And as I contemplated how a movie cleverly titled “Finding No-one” could actually be about finding someone and, in particular, about finding one’s self, I unwittingly began the same journey. When I started college, I had no idea that I would end it as an aficionado of all things ancient; in fact, I had no exposure to the world of Classics until my junior year. After taking a few electives: Intellectual Heritage and Greek Drama and Culture, I was strongly encouraged to pursue the ancient languages. It was laughable—what practical applications would a dead language have in my life? At that point in college I had studied Spanish for five years, already had majors in English and History, and envisioned myself as a teacher. I stubbornly refused to even consider the possibility of exploring Latin (let alone ancient Greek). After a few more classics courses, however, I registered for my first ancient language course.
Manipulating the Phoenician-descended alphabet was really no different than cracking a code: I was swapping “p’s” for ?’s and “n’s” for ?’s: analyzing forms, uncovering relationships, and then harnessing the information to produce a final sentence. After that initial Fall semester with Greek, it rained language: with a sweltering Latin 1 and 2 in the summer, followed by stormy Greek 2 and 3 over the next year, then another clear summer of Latin 3, then my senior year with a monsoon of writing levels in each language. 148 credit hours later, here I sat—exponentially changed and forever enlightened—and with the addition of Classics, now a triple major.
I'm ready to share this knowledge and passion that I have for learning, for language, for life, with others!
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