An Artistic Realist

Helen Shears '12

Puget Sound majors: History and French
Hometown: Cameron Park, California

I chose Puget Sound because of its location (close to Seattle, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest) and how flexible the curriculum is. I wanted a school where I could pursue all my interests--where I could participate in theater even if I wasn’t a theater major, for example.

I like history because it is a story--full of vivid characters, structure, rising action, denouement--all the elements of a good plot. Our job as historians is to interpret the meaning of the story and try to tell it responsibly. We become the narrators for the characters of the past.

I added the French major because the French department at Puget Sound is top-notch, with a wide range of specialties. Studying in Dijon for a year changed my life in every possible way. I had an amazing host family, and I learned so much about myself as an individual and as a student, as well as what I want to do after college.

I would describe myself as an artistic realist. I work hard in school because I like learning, because I feel passionate about what I’m studying. I believe in the role of art in a well-rounded education. I was heavily involved in theater in middle school and high school. At Puget Sound I’ve been in a couple of plays, but have discovered writing as my primary passion. I love writing about everyday life, the little tragedies and the comedic twists. I also love traveling (and writing about traveling), reading, and singing. On campus I’m a writing advisor and a French tutor. I’m a member of a few academic honors societies, I give campus tours, and I’m a member of Lighthouse, a non-denominational Christian organization on campus.

I like being a student so much I might not stop. Right now I plan to pursue a graduate degree, most likely in European history, although I plan to take a year or two off in between. My dream job would be to work for TED, a nonprofit dedicated to “ideas worth spreading,” but I’d also love to be a professor at a school like Puget Sound. Whatever I end up doing, I want to make an impact in some way. I feel like anything is possible with a liberal arts education, and Puget Sound has given me that.