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New York City native Lillian Carver ’21 has known since childhood that she wanted to be involved with the performing arts, so it wasn’t hard for her to decide on a theatre major. Once at Dickinson, however, she discovered an additional fascination—medieval & early modern studies. Below, she discusses the joys of pursuing academic passions, her experiences studying abroad in Norwich, England, and the life lessons she’s learned as a tutor in Dickinson’s Writing Center.
New York City.
Clubs and organizations:
Mermaid Players, Infernos a cappella group, Writing Center (tutor) and College Choir.
The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt.
Meet the Robinsons.
On choosing a major:
Theatre was kind of a no-brainer for me. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Medieval & early modern studies (MEMS) sort of snuck up on me. My advisor, Professor of English Carol Ann Johnston, handed me a pamphlet for the program after our classes on Dante and Shakespeare. I didn’t declare until the fall of sophomore year, but probably a week after I found out about MEMS, I knew it was the perfect fit. I have been so happy with MEMS, and every class I’ve taken through the program has reinforced my love of learning and reminded me how happy studying your passion can make you.
Favorite place on campus:
The first-floor quiet section of the library.
Favorite Dining Hall food
On studying abroad:
Making it possible for me to study abroad in Norwich, England, was the best thing Dickinson has done for me. I was able to immerse myself in a town with deep medieval history and authentic sites and a thriving theatre community. I took classes on everything from early modern witches to medieval monsters, and every myth and folk tale in between. In my free time, I performed in two musicals on campus, and I met a wonderful and supportive group of people. It has been such a wonderful affirmation of my personal and academic aspirations, and Norwich is certainly a place I will come back to every chance I get.
As I kid, I wanted to be …
… a performer, and I don’t think I’ve quite grown out of that dream yet.
Favorite class/learning experience:
After seeing Camelot at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C., I realized that I had picked the perfect majors. I couldn’t stop talking about King Arthur, the history of the myths, how the music worked, how much I loved the performances and the staging. Since then I’ve been deeply passionate about medieval and early modern folklore and the possibilities of the MEMS curriculum. That experience, combined with my time abroad at UEA, really made me fall more in love with my studies every day.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …
… Julie Andrews. She is my role model in every way. Though also probably T.H. White, just to pick his brain and talk King Arthur.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
I’ve learned a lot about how to ask for help at Dickinson. My professors have always been incredibly supportive of me, and as I started my work as an English tutor in the Writing Center, I realized that the help I was trained to offer others was applicable for everyone. Asking for help is something people are often scared to do, because they think it means they are calling themselves a failure. Through my experiences, I’ve learned that asking for help is actually just an investment in your own self-worth. To go to a tutor is to advance your learning, regardless of where you started. Asking for help is creating a better world for yourself, and I am thankful for that lesson.
Read more Student Snapshots.
Published March 30, 2021