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Italian is my broader study. What’s yours?

by Mark Fadel '13, 2013 Walker Cup Winner

Biochemistry, pre-medicine, and an Italian minor. One of these doesn’t seem to fit. Coming into DePauw, I was headstrong on completing my requirements early so I could focus on science throughout my four years at DePauw. Then, I met Professor Francesca Seaman, the Italian Language professor at DePauw. Through her perseverance and personal rapport, Professor Seaman expanded my concept of a liberal arts education to include a broader study. By the end of my first year of college, my four-year plan changed, and I embraced the liberal arts education DePauw offers.
As biochemistry majors, students are consumed by lab reports, analysis of countless biomolecules, and understanding entire processes that enable humans to live. Now don’t get me wrong, this is what I signed up for and enjoy. The only downside is that without experimenting with other classes, we can find ourselves in a tunnel. Italian got me away from the memorization and understanding of precise systems and ushered me into a world of culture and great food. Ultimately, it led me into what DePauw values most: a diverse body of knowledge gained from a liberal arts education.
An example of the necessity to take Italian is not seen in education but in sports. If a cross-country runner only ran, or a baseball player only played baseball, or a basketball player only played basketball, would they reach their full potential? Some will argue this point but the answer is no. People don’t question why a cross country runner performs flexibility exercises or weight circuits because it is clear that these exercises build the muscles, reflexes, and coordination that can be transferred to cross country. Take several professional athletes for example: Michael Jordon (basketball) played league baseball, Jim Brown (football) was an All-American lacrosse player, and Lebron James (basketball) was an all-star football player. Their athletic capabilities mirror our ability to excel in multiple areas of study. We diversify our education to enhance our brainpower.
Not only has taking Italian diversified my studies, it also enabled me to share my experience with countless people. In particular, I met with DePauw alum Dr. John Hare, M.D. and member of Harvard University Medical School Admissions. While talking with Dr. Hare, he mentioned his personal connection with the country and we began discussing my Italian experience when we were supposed to review my pre-medicine track. Instances like this enabled me to communicate more effectively and provide a broader range of conversation. With more experience in a particular area of study comes more capability of building upon it and expanding your overall knowledge base.

Italian is my broader study.

What’s yours?