Shannon Young ’16 is an intern with the offices of development and alumni and parent engagement this fall. She will be writing alumni feature stories and posting to social media throughout the term. Read on to hear her voice and her story.
What do poppy seed bagels, Taylor Swift, and Judith Butler all have in common? The answer is not much—besides being some of my principal interests. My name is Shannon Young and I am a senior English major and Ancient Greek and Roman Studies minor at Furman. This semester, I’m interning in the development office on campus so you’ll be hearing from me periodically.
Why did you decide to come to Furman?
It was during my senior year at Hotchkiss, a boarding school in Connecticut only half an hour from my house, when my family moved to Florida. As I was beginning the college application process, my mom insisted that I apply to at least one college in the South. I had never heard of Furman, but the website was appealing and I applied along with my list of New England colleges. I was planning on going to Wheaton College in Massachusetts until I saw Furman’s campus on Accepted Students Day later that year. Besides the impressive landscaping, bubbling fountains, and immaculate facilities, the students looked happy. And when I learned about all the study abroad options, I was completely hooked.
Why Greek and Roman Studies?
My interest in Latin actually goes back to the 7th grade when I was required to learn basic Latin in addition to continuing my Spanish studies. I loved learning about the culture of Ancient Rome, and finding Latin words and phrases we use in everyday English, like “in medias res” and “quid pro quo.” This introduction to Latin was a huge factor in my applying to Hotchkiss because students could qualify for a special honor called the Classics Diploma. I overloaded in high school, taking four years of Latin and three years of Ancient Greek so that on graduation day, I received a special diploma written in Latin and wore a laurel wreath with my white graduation dress.
Did you want to be an English major before you came to Furman?
Reading and writing have always been my favorite things to do. But I also love Ancient Greek and Latin, and spent much of my time in high school focusing on ancient languages, history, and culture. For a while I thought I wanted to study historical linguistics, and planned on majoring in Classics when I started at Furman. It was after taking my freshman seminar with Dr. Hausmann, and spending my sophomore fall on the British Isles trip, that I realized Ancient Greek was my hobby and English was my passion.
What is your favorite topic to write about?
Generally: travel. Specifically: living in the medieval city of Viterbo. During my junior year of high school, I lived with an Italian host family for nine months to study classics through a program called School Year Abroad (SYA). It was both wonderful (I ate incredible food, slid down a volcanic crater in Sicily, and learned to be independent) and terrible (I was nauseatingly homesick for the first four months and had no background in Italian before arriving). It is still the most difficult and rewarding experience of my life.
What place is next on your list for travel?
India. I had to make the decision last year of whether to go on the May X to study religion and art in Turkey, or to travel to India this fall. My love of classics won out but I’m still dying to walk the streets of Chennai and to see the Taj Mahal.
Why do you think it is important for donors to give to Furman?
Something I’ve already realized in my short time working in the Development Office is that my relationship with Furman isn’t over when I graduate. And I think it’s really special that alumni can give back either to areas of most need, or to specific areas that are close to their hearts. For instance, my study abroad trips are some of the highlights of my time at Furman, and if I knew that my donation would help another student who couldn’t afford to go on her own get to do something that meant so much to me, that would make me feel so happy. To put it simply, donations matter; they influence everything from deserving students’ ability to attend and stay at Furman, to campus renovations, to recruiting and maintaining the incredible faculty Furman is known for. As a student you experience the effects of those donations, and as a donor you are one of the most important reasons why Furman is a wonderful place to work and go to school.