John Landefeld '07
Thesis Title: “Of Class, Race, and Nation: The Evolving Memory of Alfred the Great in Victorian England, 1837-1901”
Like many freshmen, I arrived at Harvard without a clear sense of what I hoped to do after graduation. I did know that I wanted an intellectually rigorous concentration that would engage my passions for studying the past, seeking to understand human interactions, and thinking critically about the world in which we live. History was a natural choice, and it exceeded my expectations in many ways. My classmates and professors were stimulating and diverse, and my thesis experience (under Prof. Dan Smail) remains one of my favorite memories from college.
Today I am a medical student at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, and I use the skills I developed in Robinson Hall every day. I study the histories of patients rather than of the Middle Ages, but being able to think creatively, to pivot easily between details and the big picture, and to communicate clearly are life lessons, ones I found History uniquely well-positioned to teach.