Student Spotlight: David Advent
David Advent is a senior pursuing a double major in English Literature and International Affairs. English Literature is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences and International Affairs is part of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy.
Where are you from and what is your anticipated graduation date?
I am originally from Boiling Springs, N.C., a small town about an hour west of Charlotte. I am a senior majoring in English Literature and International Affairs and am graduating in Spring 2019.
How did you learn about the programs that you ended up being a part of?
I was awarded the IDEA Grant for Summer 2018 for my Honors in the Major Thesis. My thesis is an environmental reading of the space-time compressions in the works of Thomas Hardy, including “The Mayor of Casterbridge” and “Jude the Obscure”. I used the grant to travel to Dorchester, England, where I visited Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, the Dorset Archival Center, and other local points of interest in Dorchester, all of which provided unique insights into my reading of the environment in Hardy’s novels. I learned about the IDEA Grant from the Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement office and through faculty members in the English department who encouraged me to apply for the grant.
What on-campus resources/departments or offices helped you prepare both on an academic level and in the application process?
Once again, both the English department and the CRE helped me prepare my application. In particular, my faculty director, Barry Faulk, helped me craft my application, constantly reading and helping me revise my application materials, including my personal statement and project proposal. In addition, Faulk helped prepare me for my first experience in academic fieldwork, giving me the necessary tools to make the most of my experience in England.
What aspect of the programs that you are a part of do you find most exciting?
I love that the IDEA Grant affords humanities and social sciences researchers the opportunity to further their research goals. Typically, we conceptualize research as something predominantly STEM-based, and this is not true in the slightest. In fact, there is a burgeoning of research in the humanities, creative arts and social science disciplines. The IDEA Grant serves as a tangible manner through which these researchers can actually conduct their research, while concomitantly contributing to ongoing research conversations in their respective fields.
After this opportunity, what do you plan on doing or working on?
Because I was awarded the IDEA Grant in the middle of my thesis process, my plan for after this experience is to continue writing my thesis, ultimately successfully defending it in April 2019. Then, I plan on graduating from FSU in the spring and will take a gap year before applying to doctoral programs in English.
What brought you to FSU?
As an out-of-state student, FSU was not originally on my list of colleges that I wanted to attend; however, after hearing more about the wonderful academic opportunities—especially the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and the Honors Program—and visiting the campus, I felt that FSU had a strong sense of community. I ultimately found myself wanting to belong, and write for and contribute to that community. It is my hope that at the end of my time here at FSU that I have made a positive impact on this community.
What inspired you to choose your major, or more specific research?
I am a double major in International Affairs and English Literature. My concentration for IA is geography, which focuses more on the social processes and understandings of geography. Even though IA was my original major, I have always loved studying English. After taking a Renaissance Prose and Poetry class, where we learned about the specifics of conducting research in English, I knew that English was the home to which I belonged. English research challenges us to question the fabric of our existence and opens up broad conversations concerning what constitutes our humanity, the story of our human existence.
I see my specific research existing in an overlap between social geography and English research. My honors thesis is a reading of Bakhtin’s chronotope—a literary theory that describes how space and time are fused together in concrete representations—in two of Thomas Hardy’s novels. Because Hardy wrote most of his novels in Dorset, England, which is his homeland, my research is rooted in notions of place. In essence, my research establishes new conversations concerning the rootedness of human subjectivity within specific places, spaces and temporal contexts.
Are there any faculty or staff that have helped or inspired you?
There have been so many faculty and staff members that have helped and inspired me throughout my time at FSU. Professor Faulk in the English Department has guided me and helped me through my thesis process, challenging me to be a better writer, thinker and scholar. Dr. Fleckenstein, also in the English department, has helped me to grow intellectually and to believe in myself. Latika Young, the director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement, CRE, has helped me find my love for teaching by granting me opportunities to lead colloquia and training classes. There are so many more people who I could thank; I am eternally grateful for their help and contributions.
What do you like to do when you’re not doing schoolwork or research?
I enjoy drinking iced coffee, exploring nature trails in Tallahassee, perusing local bookstores, journaling, painting and drawing.
Although you might miss FSU, what are you looking forward to in your post-grad life?
While I will certainly miss FSU, I will be taking a gap year before I begin graduate school in order to rest, recover and recharge after I graduate. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work at my job on campus, having a lot of time for reflection on the past four years, planning my future, and being able to find peace within myself.