First Person, First-Year: Mark Richter ’14

Name: Mark Richter ’14
Hometown: Brunswick, Maine

Why did you choose to take “The Pursuit of Peace,” Government Professor Allen Springer’s first-year seminar?

I chose it because I’ve always had an interest in history, international relations, government, things like that, but they’ve never been my strong point. The whole point of the seminar is to have small classes that are discussion-based and really immerse yourself in it.

Was there any particular concept in today’s class that got your mind firing?

What I thought was interesting about today’s class was the thought that there could be bad peace between two different nations, or among many.

What do you mean by a “bad peace?”

Well, for example, the peace after WWI, the Versaille Treaty, wasn’t necessarily good. In fact there were many problems with it. But what the author of the book we were reading was arguing was that, even if it was a bad peace, what was done after it was worse. They didn’t stick to it and retain all of the restrictions they laid out.

How are you finding intellectual life at Bowdoin?

I find intellectual life to be time consuming [laughter] and interesting, definitely. It’s a lot more work than high school, but it’s manageable. Because you have fewer classes you can cover more topics.

What’s the level of discussion with other students outside of class?

Always in high school, people talked outside of class because they were trying to collaborate on thoughts so they could get the right answer. But here, because we chose our own classes, our own path, everyone is more excited about what’s going on in these courses and more enthusiastic about discussing them. Makes for a more intellectually involved environment.

Think you’ll still be saying that at the end of the semester?

Probably, but I think that everybody will be anxious to move onto something new until we find out what really captivates and gets us more excited than anything else.

I see Prof. Springer gave you back a corrected paper today. How’d you do?

Well, it was Pass/Fail, and I’m assuming … Yep, I passed. Although I did get an A on both of my Spanish assignments, which I wasn’t necessarily expecting. So it’s a good day today.

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