Megan Falconer

Honours Bachelor of Arts with specialization in Classics, 2008
PhD candidate in Classics, University of Calgary

I graduated from the University of Ottawa with an honours degree in Classics in 2008. Originally, I was enrolled in Chemistry; however, I filled my elective slots with history, languages, and myth courses until it became clear that I was in the wrong program. It was only after a year and a half in the sciences that it became clear: Classics alone could offer me the diverse range of subjects that satisfied my curiosity. Classics sets no real limit on the scope of a topic as long as it’s set in the ancient world. In the same semester, a student can be taking Latin, ancient Greek, philosophy, technological history, and a political seminar, all offered through the same department. Not only does a Classics program afford the opportunity to expand a student’s skills in critical thinking, oral and written communication, and language development, but it also opens up a window to understanding a whole world from which the twenty-first century evolved. It’s surprising how much of modern fiction, recent history, religious traditions, politics, and even modern medicine draws from the ancient Greeks and Romans.

As a PhD candidate in the department of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Calgary, I have witnessed the development of this awareness in undergraduate students. Fascination fuels the drive to learn as much as possible in such a short time about the ancient, and by extension modern, world. Students develop critical thinking and analytical skills as they study ancient sources and begin to comment on trends in Greek and Roman literature, history, and material culture (among other such topics). Further, they learn not one but several languages in the pursuit of this degree. At the moment, I can read in four languages and am developing my skills in a fifth.

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