I was at my college freshman orientation flipping through the course catalogue when a class name caught my eye: Brave New World. The class description, which included an incredible reading list and the phrase "frank and open discussions" intrigued and thrilled me as a book nerd, but I had no idea then that taking a dystopian literature class in college would help prepare me for 2017.
Now, standing in the shadow of an already dark 2017, I can see clearly see the significance of these dystopian fictions and my American reality, but in 2008 when I enrolled in the course my first semester freshman year, it wasn't because I felt it was timely. In fact, at the time I signed up for the class, I was feeling almost utopian, not dystopian: I was voting for the first time ever in a presidential election, and the hope of the Obama/Biden campaign was infectious and impossible to ignore. To me, things were looking brighter, not darker, so I didn't take the class to prepare me for what I thought would be impending doom down the line. I simply took the class because I was considering a major in English instead of journalism (which I ended up pursuing) and because the Aldous Huxley book was a favorite of mine in high school.
A part lecture, part discussion, my Brave New World class was unique and challenging in ways I could have never expected. It was one of my first college experiences, and back then, it gave me a taste of the power studying, reading, and open discussion could give a young, developing student. Back then, I loved immersing myself in the story and speaking my mind about what I thought it meant. Now, in 2017, I can say I'm grateful I signed up for it, because it helped prepare me for today's reality in ways I could never expect.