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I’m so excited that you’ve decided to take Shakespeare! Your perspective on the Bard and on the way to research and learn about literature is about to change. Be ready for your world to get rocked, and you’ll be good to go.
I think my favorite thing about taking Shakespeare was how we related it to regular life. I will never forget why Dr. Burton encouraged us to memorize Shakespeare. He said that Shakespeare is like the scriptures- it is so helpful to have a few verses (or sonnets) tucked away. You never know when having a sonnet memorized will come in handy! Dr. Burton was always encouraging us to talk to our roommates, or friends, our peers, and anyone we could about Shakespeare. Doing that was surprisingly easy- people have interacted with Shakespeare way more than you and they think.
Something that was a little harder for me to get in to, but that I learned to appreciate, was Slack. I would recommend jumping headfirst into that from the beginning. I held back, and that made it a lot harder to be fully committed by the end of the semester. However, when I did get involved I loved it. I connected with my classmates and they gave so many insights. The class itself is more lecture than discussion based, so Slack was great because it fostered the discussion that helps me connect. I know you like discussing and going over ideas with your friends, so Slack will probably be your best friend.
One of the most crucial parts of understanding Shakespeare is actually reading the text. You love to read, so I know you’ll have no problem keeping up with the reading, but not reading it will be so detrimental, so make sure you don’t get behind. Reading it and doing background research will change the way you interact on Slack. I would recommend getting the reading done early so you can participate on Slack, and do other research (google searches, scholarly article reading, talking to your friends, whatever you can).
The most beneficial thing for me was the non-traditional sources. It helped me understand the texts so much more, and it helped me way more than I expected. Non-traditional sources are easier to understand, and they’re unexpected. Don’t be afraid to check out YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, and Tumblr to find more information. You’ll be surprised to find out that you learn more than you would expect from non-scholarly social sources.
Good luck in Shakespeare Ben! I know you’ll do great.