Hi, my name is Selden Cummings and I’m a junior at UC Berkeley. I’m an English major, and like many of my peers, I enjoy writing, reading, and disagreeing over the meaning of ancient poems. I’m also a musician. I play acoustic guitar and I rap. My stage name is Tommy Luck.
I chose English as a major because there is nothing as entertaining or intellectually stimulating as reading a good book. Being an English major has taught me to view the world in terms of stories, and it is also helped me learn to think critically. My experience with Berkeley’s English Dept. has been amazing. To come into contact on a daily basis with dozens of people who find Emily Dickinson as fascinating as I do is really a dream come true. Oh man, it’s hard to pick a favorite class. So far, I guess I’d say what I just said: Emily Dickinson, taught by John Shoptaw. It’s incredible to be able to spend an entire semester studying the work of a single poet, and Shoptaw does a fantastic job of guiding us into making our own interpretations of the poems, without forcing an interpretation upon us. I’ve also really enjoyed The English Novel with Kent Puckett, who is a brilliantly clear lecturer. The EUA really helped me settle into Berkeley English life, especially during my first semester. In fact, my main advice for new English majors would be to pay attention to all the EUA emails, and to go to their events!!