“Dickinsonians are truly extraordinary. No matter when you graduate, you still seem to hold onto that special spark,” says Christian Knight ’23, who’s enjoyed getting to interview alumni as a 2021 Presidential Fellow. Below, Christian discusses that experience, why he chose Dickinson as his college and earth sciences as his major as well as the key difference he discovered between college and high-school writing classes.
Colonial Heights, Virginia.
Clubs and organizations:
The Square, Filmmakers’ Collective, Outing Club, Astronomy Club, Presidential Dialogue, Archaeology Club, Film Club and Badminton Club.
John Montgomery Scholarship.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
Best thing about my major:
Earth sciences is great, because it utilizes a little bit of every single topic found in STEAM curricula. As someone who has always loved science, I could never decide to study just one area of it. Majoring in earth sciences, I get to enjoy the best parts of all of them, along with my hobby of map-making.
Favorite place on campus:
The observatory or the archives.
Favorite Dining Hall food:
Literally any baked dessert. And the pulled-pork barbeque.
Favorite class/learning experience:
My best experience in a class has been with Advanced Creative Writing for Fiction. In my high school, students were never given the opportunity to have full creative control over an assignment. In Advanced Creative Writing at Dickinson, I could write about what I was most passionate about without being told to follow a certain path.
[Joseph Priestley Professor of Natural Philosophy] Marcus Key. He’s a down-to-earth (pun somewhat intended), wickedly smart and hilarious person who makes you enjoy learning, even though he has the tendency to pick on you sometimes.
As I kid, I wanted to be …
… an astrophysicist or a dentist, even though I now have an irrational phobia of anything involving dentistry.
About my Presidential Fellowship:
I have learned so much from Dickinson alumni through the Presidential Fellowship. I’ve gotten to learn what campus life was like in the past, from the student antiwar protests during the Vietnam War era to the times before the Dining Hall even existed. More important, however, I learned that Dickinsonians are truly extraordinary people. No matter when you graduate, you still seem to hold onto that special spark that the college puts into you. The Presidential Fellowship has been an incredible experience and a great way to keep myself busy and active, after nearly 18 months of being inside.
Throughout the pandemic, I taught myself to draw and even created social media pages for my artwork, amassing nearly 10,000 followers. I also love gardening, movies, old cameras and museums.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …
… my great-grandfather. I never got to hear about the full extent of his journeys to the Arctic and how he and his crew tamed a baby polar bear. He was one of the biggest reasons why I became so enamored with science.
Best thing about my Dickinson experience:
The friendships and relationships I’ve formed. I’ve met some of the best people in my life at Dickinson, and they’ve helped me so much throughout the past few years. I am honestly not sure what I would’ve done without them during 2020.
On choosing Dickinson:
Two of my uncles and three of my aunts attended Dickinson, and my uncle who majored in geology was a big part of my decision to loosely follow in his footsteps. I also come from a town smaller than Carlisle, so I didn’t want to be thrown into a giant university.
After Dickinson, I plan to either go to graduate school or work with GIS software to make maps for a number of different uses. I also plan to either write science-fiction short stories or a screenplay.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that you learn the most from other people and their backgrounds. In my small town, I never really got to experience different cultures or backgrounds. Within my first year at Dickinson, my world had been completely opened up, allowing me to experience things I never even knew existed just a few years prior.
Read more Student Snapshots.
Published August 18, 2021