When senior Akua Maat started at Wake Forest, she would have scoffed at the thought of being a Latin major. However, after being frustrated by her Spanish class in the first semester, she decided to sign up for an introductory Latin course in the spring semester. In this class, she thrived.
“When major selection came around in the spring of my sophomore year,” Maat said, “the decision seemed far too clear.”
She was going to be a Latin major.
Coupled with her Latin studies is a second major in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Maat recognizes that on paper, Latin and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies seems like an odd pairing. However, she said both departments make her feel equally at home.
“By taking Latin courses I have had the opportunity to engage with collections from ancient writers and learn from professors who were incredibly supportive and personable,” she said. “I’ve been able to read a variety of collections spanning a variety of topics, which allowed me to not only reflect on poetry, politics, and philosophy in ancient texts and but also consider how these narratives have been received in today’s society.”
She says that her major in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, on the other hand, has given her the chance to take sociology, history, politics and even law classes. Thus, the pairing of Latin with Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies is a potent one.
Maat’s two majors have uniquely prepared her for her next step. This coming year she will be working in Philadelphia as a mentor in a public school. However, her plans to be a mentor are short-term.
“My long-term plan is to get my PhD in Sociology and eventually become a professor,” Maat said.
However, beyond just being a professor, she claims to also have a calling to become a doula, and thinks that she may make follow this passion as well.
When Maat considers what she would change about Wake Forest, she said it would be the student’s nature to always feel like they need to be busy.
“Though it would be nearly impossible to alter, I would change the culture at Wake Forest that makes you feel like you need to be doing something always,” she said. “For some reason, some students really get a kick out of reporting their planner to you. And yes, while this school offers a number of opportunities for professional and academic development, they also offer an equal number of opportunities to experience and learn from the arts, greater Winston-Salem and wise speakers. I can’t count the number of times I have gone to incredible events, whether it be a concert or a speaker, and seen students take out their laptops, loudly tap on their keyboards to take notes, and then leave early. I would change the pressure students feel to always perform and give them the space to simply experience.”
Maat serves as a prime example of how important a liberal arts education can be. Coming into this school, she never thought she would leave with a degree in Latin. However, the language requirement forced her to see how much she enjoyed the subject, and she is graduating very satisfied with her time on campus.