Emma Thacker • in Love With Literature on Choosing Marlboro

I wanted to go to school in a really beautiful place and be surrounded by trees and pretty buildings, and initially that’s what caught my eye about Marlboro. Then as I learned more about it, I felt like the place was a smaller part of it and that the academics were really the reason to come. Although, the place certainly doesn’t hurt—It’s beautiful.


I’ve liked most classes I’ve taken at Marlboro, so it’s been hard to narrow down my interests to specific subjects. But I would say that the subjects I’m most interested in currently are literature and American studies, and that’s what I’m going to do my Plan of Concentration in. I expected the academics to be difficult, and I’ve found that I face challenges in writing every time I write a paper and getting as much out of my reading as I possibly can. However, I wouldn’t call them difficult because I really love doing it. I love doing my reading. I love writing. I love being in class. And I’m challenged to think in a way that I’ve never thought before, but it doesn’t feel very tiring for me. It’s just wonderful, more than difficult.


What I find most intriguing about literature is that everybody gets something different out of every book. I like hearing how people interpret the books they’ve read because I find often that I may agree with them personally but not fully. I always feel that hearing someone’s opinion about a book is really important to my own understanding of it. In terms of specific literature that’s spoken to me especially, I read Dostoevsky for the first time this past semester and I fell in love. I don’t know if I’ll end up doing my Plan on any book by Dostoevsky, but I loved writing about The Brothers Karamazov and felt really strongly influenced by Dostoevsky’s ideas and his stories.


I play music on Thursday nights in the chamber music group, which is a credit—it’s technically a class—but it’s more just a get together of people who like to play music. I’m really happy to be involved in that because if I just focused exclusively on literature and American studies I’d feel like I was missing something. I find that the friends I’ve made at Marlboro are dearer to me than a lot of friends I had in high school and that I connect with them on many levels. Of course, the most important is that they are just good, kind people, but also, it’s nice to share your academic interests with people and be able to talk about things in an interdisciplinary and casual way.


I think the most important thing is to be open to every person you meet initially. And that’s something that’s not very easy to do. It’s not easy for me—I don’t think it’s easy for anyone, unless you’re exceptional. But I think that it’s really important to let people be who they are and to accept them for that—to let go of the clique-ness of high school and to meet a lot of people. And after letting those people into your life, then deciding who you want to be closer with while forever being kind to everyone. I think that, in the world, that’s the same advice I would give to anybody. It will make things a lot easier for you. I really believe that.


Marlboro is an ideal place for people who want to focus their interests very specifically. In the first couple of years, I think it could be for anybody. But once you enter the world of Plan—your junior and senior years—a lot of what you’re thinking about is going to be very, very specific. If you’re not interested in thinking deeply about a certain subject, or a certain two subjects, then this is not the place for you. But you need to also understand, firstly, that because you have these specific interests does not mean that other things do not exist in the world.