Student Post: The Road Less Traveled: An Unconventional College Path and Why it Works for Me

Student: Brittany Denise Lugo

AOC: Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Home College: CUNY Medgar Evers College

Graduation: 2023

The Road Less Traveled: An Unconventional College Path and Why it Works for Me

One of the things I admire about history is that its narratives are always moving. Our understanding of a particular historical moment can mean many things to many people—not to say that we are moving around facts to make them more amenable, but rather the facets of history speak to each individual’s soul like art. This is the reason I have always loved history. Facts are facts, but how I interpret these facts is in my hands. My experiences and worldview can be used to inform my understanding of history and thus be different from someone else’s. 

I came into the CUNY BA program after graduating with my Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts with an Area of Concentration in Social and Behavioral Science in 2021. I enjoyed my time at Medgar Evers College; however, like my peers in the CUNY BA program can understand, I craved more than a traditional academic program. Coming back to college after ten years, I was adamant about what I was looking to study. However, I dreaded leaving Evers as I had formed real connections with the staff and students, from whom I found the CUNY BA program. Exploring my interests at a plethora of CUNY campuses has been a godsend.

However, while I knew I loved history, the CUNY BA program asked me to be specific. At first, crafting my Area of Concentration seemed like a daunting task. There were so many aspects of history that I loved. How could I settle on just one particular area? But after sitting down for what felt like forever, I settled on Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Most of my favorite aspects of history fall within this periodization. The world’s landscape as one knew it was changing. Interactions with countries near and far and the solidification of foundational aspects of our modern world can be found in those eras.

As I am approaching the end of my first year in the CUNY BA program, I am so glad for the experience. Being able to curate my courses semester after semester has allowed me to broaden my scope. Each campus is different and each class adds nuances and perspectives to the history I mentioned earlier. Through my studies, I have realized that a subject within this period I would like to explore would be the African experience within early modern Europe. So much scholarship focuses on the African experience following the transatlantic slave trade and before the colonization of Africa. I have found that I would like to expand the focus on the experiences of Africans through much of the histories that we already know of by applying Critical Race Theory to the early modern period.