Student Profile: Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers, AB’20 (History, expected)
As an incoming first year last autumn, Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers was completely undecided for her major and for her plans for the future. “The big issue for me has been that if I don’t know what I want to do in the future I don’t know what I want to do now,” she says. As the year went on, she discovered that her passion lay in History, and entering her second year, she continues to uncover her interests to see if adding another major in the Social Sciences would be perfect for her.
The first clue towards discovering her major came when Jamerson-Flowers chose to explore the Social Sciences through the Core. Taking Classics of Social and Political Thought (SOSC 15100-15200-15300) with then Harper-Schmidt Collegiate Assistant Professor Jared Holley, she found that she was interested in how thinking about people has evolved over time. “I liked reading these primary texts of people who had radical ideas about what makes people people,” she says, “and then us sitting around and talking about them, saying ‘Well, that’s definitely wrong’, or ‘that actually is still relevant today’.”
Though her favorite subject in high school had always been History, it was references like these that convinced Jamerson-Flowers that it should be her major and even led her to what she wants to study. “As I went through the year, I guess taking classes that had other focuses always brought me back to why I loved History,” she says. “If that’s what I always go back to, then that’s probably what I should do.” What caught her attention in particular was the changing attitudes between different religions and how that continues to this day. “One of the biggest modern conflicts is over religion and I’m just fascinated on how that started,” says Jamerson-Flowers. “Most religions tend to have this ‘peace is a good thing’ kind of vibe to them and yet there is a lot of violence between different religions, so I’m fascinated on how we got there.”
She may have chosen her primary major, but Jamerson-Flowers’ interests in History and in people also opened other options for a second major: Anthropology and Comparative Human Development. Anthropology attracts her because of the possibilities of doing archeological research with a lab component. “There’s a lot of things that you study that have already been studied but if you’re there when they dig something new up, then you’re the first one to be there, you’re the first one to do the first things with it,” she says. “I want to be the first.” Just recently, she started looking into Comparative Human Development because it also suggests a lab research opportunity. “It took me a while to decide if I was going to do hard science or social science,” she says, “so Comparative Human Development would be a little more in the hard science direction for me.”
Next year, Jamerson-Flowers will continue to deliberate as she explores the anthropological issues behind Pirates (ANTH 21254). Her other courses include an exploring class in Anthropology for Islamic History, Introduction to Poetry (ENGL 10400), and Introduction to the Hebrew Bible: Jewish Thought and Literature (NEHC 20504) for her History major. She also looks forward to taking further courses in Spanish with the goal of taking her Civilizations Studies in Barcelona—although she has recently considered Tanzania for study abroad as well. “You get to go out and do something that involves doing research in the field in Africa, which seems so cool,” she says. “And you get to learn Swahili, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do.”
Through the year-long journey to her major, Jamerson-Flower’s process helped her see how History, Anthropology, and Comparative Human Development—among the other departments of the Social Sciences—revolve around people. “There are so many different facets of people to study,” she says. “We can study the way they use money, or how they think, or what they have done in the past, or how they organize society, but it’s all about what we do [now]. It’s fascinatingly unpredictable and yet there’s lots of patterns. The natural world functions on laws.”
For students that come in to their first year undecided and without any predictions of what they will choose to major in, she has some advice. “If you’re coming in undecided,” she says, “enjoy it. Being undecided means that you can do essentially whatever you want while everyone else is committed to their major.”