When I arrived at King’s,
I wanted to learn. And I did. I was drawn by the academically rigorous curriculum where I would read great books and write lots of essays. But an education cannot be reduced to its curriculum. There is a box under my bed that contains (almost) all of my notes from four years of classes. There is a diploma hanging on my wall. But those things are not the whole sum of my education.
My answer for why I chose to attend The King’s College is simple: the professors and students I had met there were the people I wanted to be formed by.
I bet you’ve heard it said before, but it’s true that we are always being formed, intentionally or unintentionally, by what we do and who we spend our time around. That is why we hem and haw over who to take Research Writing with and log into Schoology before the first day of school to see who will be in our classes with us. Because those things matter. Because we are not only being formed by what we study, but who we study it with.
You cannot put a King’s education in a box and ship it off to any other university. It can only exist in the one place where its curriculum, mission, and people collide.
When I arrived at King’s, I wanted to learn. And I did. I learned how to identify major works of art and analyze a novel based on its voice. I learned how to meal prep and produce a play. I learned how cultures are formed and how to rally others for an academic competition. I learned how to be a better friend; how to support someone in their sorrow and celebrate them in their wins.
I view it as no accident that these life lessons were learned alongside the study of philosophy, history, and literature, for learning does not happen in a vacuum. Just as Plato believed that we cannot siphon off the learning of different subjects into disconnected silos, so I too believe that we cannot separate different areas of our education. I grew in my capacity for honesty and empathy in my friendships because I was studying Flannery O’Connor, Shakespeare, and Cicero. I grew in my capacity as a writer and a scholar because of the community I had formed with the House of Elizabeth I. The academic and personal lessons cannot be separated.
There are many things I have The King’s College to thank for. For deep and lasting friendships. For challenging my pride. For encouraging my faith. For a second family I have found post-graduation in the home of an alumna whose children I regularly take care of. But I am perhaps most grateful for how it oriented me towards a life-long pursuit of the true, good, and beautiful, under which I am free to pursue all these other things.
Gracie McBride
Alumna | House of Queen Elizabeth I | Class of '21
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