“I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it”

Rachel with SUA sign

I’m in my junior year now, majoring in English with a secondary major in Spanish Studies. I like reading (especially nonfiction), and learning people’s stories, understanding why people think and act how they do and what I can draw from that into my own life. I love my family, and everyone that becomes my family. I have no idea what I’m going to do as a career.  And the one thing I think England falls short on is their overpriced and undersized carbonated fountain soft drink availability.

Six months ago I’d never heard of the “Shakespeare Birthplace Trust”. In fact, I think the name “Shakespeare” was still one which caused me intimidation… I groaned at the thought of having to interpret his works and was unenthused by the language and frustrated by the plots that I couldn’t make sense of. This has now all changed. Among other things, working with the SBT has shown me reasons “the Bard” is a big deal, and why so many people revere his stories and words; and it’s become a home I didn’t know I wanted until I was knee-deep in it.

I think one of the most rewarding things in life is getting to know people. Which is why I suddenly have a deep appreciation (or fascination? maybe?) with Shakespeare now: because he was a master of people as much as he was a master of words. I’ve been so grateful for the opportunities here to travel to a lot of different places, within and out of England, to see cultures and be introduced to people who are passionate about where they live. I’ve seen kindnesses I want to reflect, pride of heritage I want to practice, and been around the most compassionate and caring people I’ve known.  I like learning about what makes these people so good, what motivates them and what has taught them. That is where I find fascination with William Shakespeare, because part of what made him so brilliant was his ability to write about so many different people, and show how people respond to hard things by their actions.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the people that make it will teach you a large number of things: the best biscuits, the best way to make tea, the weirdest British TV shows, how to work in and for an organization, how to build your personal experiences, why Shakespeare is the best… and somewhere in all of that you’ll be learning about people, and what makes them so good, and how you can add that to your own life. And that will make up ten-fold for any overpriced and undersized Dr. Pepper.

Holy Trinity and the Avon (Rachel Hansen photo)

*title of this blog post from As You Like It act 2, scene iv

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