Greek & Roman Mythology

The word I most closely associate with the College of Arts and Sciences at Penn is “flexibility.” Want to take a class about pirates? You can do that! Or maybe a class taught by a professor who was at one point a Buddhist Monk? That’s an option too! Or disliked math in high school and never want to “solve for x” ever again? That's also a possibility! Penn has a variety of wonderful classes and a myriad of courses to fulfill our graduation requirements.

The classes we take at Penn are split roughly into 1/3 major, 1/3 elective, and 1/3 general education. One of the categories for classes within the general education section is called Arts and Letters. As someone studying physics, I was dreading this requirement. I like to do problem sets, not write paragraphs. However, back in high school (and admittedly I have read a few while at Penn!) I absolutely loved the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I saw a class called Greek and Roman Mythology that satisfied Arts and Letters and figured it would be the least painful way to fulfill the requirement.

I ended up loving the class, and it is still my favorite course I have taken at Penn. We read some of the greatest epics and stories from the ancient world, including (but certainly not limited to!) The Odyssey, Oedipus, and The Aeneid. I thought it was so cool that I could be reading something written by Homer one minute in Greek and Roman Mythology, and then be reading something written by Newton right after in one of my physics courses. It ended up being the most enjoyable - rather than the least painful - way to fulfill the requirement.

And this is one of the many reasons why I praise the College for its flexibility; had it not been for the Arts and Letters requirement, I do not think I would have taken a mythology course during my time at Penn. I am extraordinarily grateful that the College’s flexibility afforded me the opportunity to discover a passion for Greek and Roman Mythology!

-Nathan S, C'19