King’s told me upfront I would be asked to do hard things.
That is what drew me to King’s. It promised original texts, serious writing assignments, and no grade inflation. It delivered. The dreaded Jackson Class, from which few emerged with an A. The Tubbs Die Roll, determining on
the spot which final exam question we’d face. Even our break from class—Interregnum—celebrated academic achievement.
That hard work was never wasted, never pointless. I read late into the night for American Political Thought and Practice, yet Dr. Parks made good on my investment. I wrote far more essays than my friends at other colleges, until writing became second nature. I waded through metaphysics with Dr. Blander and learned the reward of understanding. King’s dared me, a naïve teenager from rural Arizona, to open up the greatest books ever written and engage with their claims. It was exhilarating.
When I graduated, Peter Wood, the former provost of King’s, hired me to work for him at the National Association of Scholars. He pushed me to do more hard things, things I would never have ventured if not for my experience at King’s. I found myself conducting original research, writing for national magazines and newspapers, advising federal agencies, and drafting model legislation and seeing it passed into law.
Now, as a homeschool mom, the imprints of King’s remain. The family is among the strategic institutions, and I know my time at home is valuable. This year my kids and I read and memorized poems I learned to love under Dr. Jackson. We dove into ancient Egyptian history, and I told them about Met tours with Dr. Bleattler. Sometimes, as my kids ask big questions, I’ve unshelved a book I first read at King’s.
“Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice,” C.S. Lewis wrote in “Learning in War-Time,” another piece I first encountered at King’s. “If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun.” King’s, too, has always stood on the edge of a precipice. Yet it did not postpone its work. For that, I am grateful.
Rachelle Peterson
PPE, 2013
Rachelle Peterson
Alumna | House of Clara Barton | Class of '13
You Can Invest in a Story Like This.

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