Mark Duhaime '09, Department of English

Mark Duhaime '09 talks about the English Department's home, Anderson House.

 

Did you know you wanted to study English before you came to Clark?

MD: I had a pretty good idea. I had two really great English teachers in High School. One was more in tune with the formal aspects of teaching English and one was more discussion based. That got me interested in wanting to teach English. I'd like to study Twentieth Century contemporary literature.

Was there was something that really convinced you once you got here?

MD: Instead of taking the English literature intro course, I kind of dove into the department. My first semester at Clark I took this course called "Major American Writers" with this awesome professor, Meredith Neuman, who teaches post-colonial and 19th-century literature. I was one of two freshmen in my class, and she was so amazed that I was a freshman in this class. I remember she said, "Oh, boy, you sure hit the ground running!" So from the start, I got a lot of support from her. I could go and talk to her about anything. I remember once when I was struggling with a paper I sat with her and said, "I have no idea what I'm going to talk about in this paper. She start asking me questions and trying to get me to stretch my thinking. And at the end of the time we were sitting together I had this thesis for my paper.

Do you think it's unusual that she took so much personal time with you?

MD: Not at all. Not at Clark. My experience has been that Clark professors make themselves very available to students. And the thing with students here, as far as I've seen, is that a lot of times students are afraid to talk to a professor because they think that it's going to be a lot more intimidating than it really is. I know there have been times when I have been kind of apprehensive about talking to a professor about something, and then I go talk to him or her, and it's fun and very comfortable. In fact, the experience always gives me more confidence. I think students get that same feeling a lot because the professors here are very experienced experts in their fields. They can also be a little quirky and offbeat which add character to their classes.

Are there any other aspects of studying English here that have been pleasant surprises?

MD: Well, when I first visited Clark, what struck me were all the Victorian Houses that house academic departments. I think that's really unique. As an English major, I really like coming to Anderson House. It is really majestic and has a lot of character. The inside's filled with warm wood. It's nice to go into a house that has a history instead of into a bland academic building. I always like the bathrooms in these old houses too with their footed tubs—no one uses anymore but it's cool that they're there.