Double Major Spotlight: Senior English and Philosophy Student, Sydney Adams
Sydney Adams is a senior English and philosophy major from Conway, S.C. As a soon to be graduating Senior, Adams shared her experience as an English major at Clemson, and how her experience impacted her time here on campus.
As a senior English major, you have taken a wide array of English courses. Which class has impacted you the most?
This is a tough question, but I think the most impactful course I have taken is Feminist Literary Criticism. For my final project in this class, I got to explore Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find through a feminist lens — not an easy feat considering how O’Connor once said that “on the subject of the feminist business, I just never think.” But it was really fun to reread O’Connor’s works and to push back on the notion that her stories cannot be read from a feminist perspective, whether she would have wanted us to or not.
Who is your favorite English professor you have had during your time at Clemson?
Oh geez, I have a lot of favorites. Dr. Goss has probably been the most influential of my mentors during my time at Clemson. I remember one time I went to her office to talk about Jane Austen and we somehow ended up talking about Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and why the plural of mongoose is mongooses and not “mongeese.” But, in all seriousness, taking classes with Dr. Goss has made me a much better reader and writer, and I will always be grateful for that.
In addition to English, you are also majoring in philosophy. How do the disciplines complement each other?
English and philosophy complement each other in so many ways, but I would say that, above all, both disciplines encourage students to become better critical thinkers. Reading both philosophical and literary criticism is tough, and it’s even tougher to balance reading both, but I wouldn’t change a thing if I could go back and do it all over again.
During your time here at Clemson, you have served as Director and Social Media Coordinator at Clemson Paw Pantry, volunteered as a Peer Dialogue Facilitator at the Gantt Multicultural Center and worked as an Outreach Intern for the Clemson University Libraries. Did the skills you gained in the English classroom transfer over into any of these positions? If so, how?
I think that one important skill you learn as an English major is empathy. This is something that we practice in the English classroom every day when we listen to and interact with our peers. As a Peer Dialogue Facilitator, part of my job was to convey the importance of empathy to first-year Clemson students. Similarly, in my work at the Paw Pantry, I’ve learned that a good bit of students at Clemson face food insecurity and that there are many ways to empower those students by spreading awareness and destigmatizing food insecurity. As for my work in the libraries, being an English major definitely gives me an upper hand when it comes to talking about library resources because we have to utilize them so often.
What are your post-graduate plans?
After I graduate in May, I want to pursue an M.S. in Library and Information Science and then go on to become an academic librarian. As an academic librarian, I hope to help students identify and fulfill their information needs. And, if everything goes as planned, my goal is to specialize in English and philosophy.
Reflecting on your undergraduate student experience as a whole, what do you think you will remember most from your time in the English Department?
I will always remember how Clemson English made me feel like I was part of a family, even when I didn’t always feel like I was a part of the “Clemson Family.”
by Carter Smith