With plans to graduate ahead of schedule this spring, Erin Blight '14 of Deerfield, Mass., takes her education very seriously, so it's no surprise she plans to become a teacher.
"I make it a point to try to be at every class, prepared and ready to learn. I absolutely love reaching higher levels of thought and learning," Blight said. "I'm in college purely for academics, and to achieve."
She took the same purposeful approach to college when she prepared herself for that next step after high school by working for a year as an au pair in Hamburg, Germany, so she might expand her vision of the world and experience life in Europe. Next, Blight took online classes through a community college to qualify as a substitute teacher for her local school district.
"I was in the classroom just about full time for two years. I learned and grew more during that experience than in any other experience I have ever had. I think learning outside of the classroom is just as important as in the classroom," she said.
It's this thoughtful approach to learning that led Blight to major in interdisciplinary studies, instead of education.
"I have always had an interest in people - working with them, understanding them and serving them," she explained. "I have also loved creative writing since I was in elementary school. My interdisciplinary studies degree enables me to learn more about these subjects.
"Rather than just get a degree in a singular subject such as sociology, psychology, or English, I wanted to take a variety of classes so that I'd have a very diverse outlook on society and our world. My course of study enables me to take a wide range of classes, thus preparing me all more to be a diversified candidate for jobs or graduate school in the future."
Blight's ultimate goal is to obtain both a master's degree and a Ph.D. in social work so she might eventually become a professor. "I want to be as inspiring and impactful as some of the professors I've had."
Originally, her decision to transfer to MCLA was based largely on its affordability.
"The cost was low, which was important to me, because I've always known that I was to eventually pursue a master's and Ph.D.," she said. "I need to be wise about how much I take out in loans."
But she also selected MCLA for the small, tight-knit community she found here.
"I know it's cliché, but people still hold doors for you. And I like that," Blight said. "I really love the campus. I think it's beautiful, and I love all of the mountains and scenery that surrounds us."
Her MCLA experience at MCLA has been "exceptional."
"Rita Nnodim is my advisor, and I've taken all of my interdisciplinary classes with her. She is hands down the best professor I've ever had," Blight explained. "Discussions in her classroom have opened and expanded my mind so much.
"I have also had some exceptional professors in the English department," she continued. Those experiences include a creative non-fiction class last fall where she saw tremendous growth in her writing abilities.
Blight added, "I am even more disciplined than I was when I transferred [to MCLA]. I take academics even more seriously. And, I have a better understanding of the complexities of our society and world."