March 17, 2021

Pamplin Society of Fellows Blog

Realizing I’m on the Right Track

  • Martin Lopez ’24

The question that scares most sophomores who do not have a clear idea of what they want to study is: what is your major? This is even more scary when it is time to declare. Luckily I came to Lewis & Clark with the idea of studying what called my attention the most, languages. As a first year, I felt that I could have declared my major without a problem and without the fear of changing my mind. So far I have stayed with the major I chose from the beginning, World Languages, and it wasn’t until recently that I started doubting.

Fall of my sophomore year, I chose classes that only aligned with my major or minor. This ended up giving me days of switching back and forth between languages, where I only had one class in English. It was great, but mentally consuming. I started doubting myself for the first time. I declared my major in the fall 2020 semester, but came back from winter break with the idea of changing it, until the spark of passion for languages revived. This semester I decided to give it one more chance and enroll in the class Introduction to Linguistics, my first ever linguistics class. I remember watching lots of language nerd videos on Youtube about this subject, but it was in this class that everything started to make sense and where my passion for language became stronger.

I love this class because it is challenging and it really puts me to work. I am encountering things that I didn’t even know existed, things that are changing my perception of the world and adding to my interest in language. It might sound boring to some people, to learn how a language works, but for me it is an opportunity to understand and compare structures of information that preserve knowledge. This class is introducing me to the basic analysis that linguists have discussed and used to study the languages of the world and how they work. It simply fascinates me! In the near future I want to help to preserve languages on the verge of extinction. Sadly, globalization, wars, capitalism, and so many other factors have led to the loss of so many languages. What saddens me the most is the fact that people are not aware of what this really means and how little we are doing to stop it. But what keeps my motivation up and my eyes on this career is knowing that there are people who do care about this topic and understand the powerful tool that language really is. While taking this class, I have decided that I will not change my major because if this is what my future career will consist of, then I am so ready for it!!!