Meet the Majors

Sofie Koonce ’22

Classics, Book Studies Concentration

About Sofie

Class of 2022

Hometown: Plymouth, MA

Classics, Book Studies Concentration

House: Morris

Describe your major for someone who has never heard of your field before.
So, you know how some people follow celebrity beef? Imagine that, but they lived two thousand years ago and none of your friends have any idea what you’re talking about when you bring it up.

What was your favorite class outside of your major?
This is an impossible question! I’ve taken a lot of incredible classes outside of the Classics department—honorable mentions to my Robin Hood seminar and the science fiction literature class I took last semester, but I think this has to go to Reacting to the Past, my first-year seminar with Josh Birk. It’s a class based around roleplaying, in which we learned about the driving forces of history by reenacting big historical events from different eras. I got to return as a teacher’s assistant this year alongside one of my friends that I made in that class as a firstie, and it was such a great full-circle moment.

What spot on campus will you miss the most? Where was your favorite place for daydreaming or relaxing?
It’s hard to choose, but one of the most beautiful places on campus in my opinion is underneath the ginkgo tree in the botanic garden by the Lyman Conservatory. I learned this year that ginkgos lose all their leaves in the span of a few days, and they don’t turn yellow until after they’re on the ground. If you go spend some time under the ginkgo during this shedding period, especially if it’s a windy day, you can watch the leaves fall like heavy rain all around you. It’s an absolutely stunning, meditative experience that you really can’t get anywhere else.

What’s one project from your time at Smith that you’re particularly proud of?
Part of the Book Studies Concentration is to create a capstone project, and I knew that I wanted mine to be classics-related. Because of how the scheduling worked out, I was on a hiatus from taking Latin classes, and decided the best way to keep my translation skills sharp would be to do a translation project. My final capstone is a collection of select translations from Catullus, which draws inspiration from a few bold translations from the last century to create something really contemporary and fun. I had such a great time working on it, and I’m really proud of the final product!

If you could tell an incoming first-year anything about Smith, what would it be?
Welcome home! Your experience here is what you make it, so make the most of it. Take those classes that sound super cool, even if you don’t know anyone in them. Drag your friends along to the many activities that various orgs host around campus. Go see student performances and showcases as often as you can. You only get four years here—that may seem like a long time from where you’re standing, but trust me when I say that it’s going to fly by!