Alumni Interviews: Sophia Richter

By Fola Balogun

November 19, 2021

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Classical alumna Sophia Richter (‘18) recently spoke with the Chronicle about her experiences since graduation.

Richter is no stranger to tough decisions, having recently changed majors from Political Science to English Literature. This choice was met with apprehension from the people around her. Says Richter, “I remember people doubting my choices and sort of looking down on an English major as a choice for me.” She recalls that those around her saw English Literature as not a very prestigious nor economically viable major. Despite this, Richter felt she could not find happiness in her current path. She decided to switch majors. Although she started out at Tufts, Richter spent a year as a visiting student at Oxford. While she’s now back at Tufts, she says that Oxford would be her first choice when she gets her master’s degree.

During her time at Classical, Richter participated in multiple extracurriculars and recalls being greatly influenced by her time there. A staple of her experience was her participation in the Laureate, Classical’s literary magazine, which gave her “an outlet for my writing that wasn’t based in my classes.” Regarding her thoughts on her high school experience, Richter recalls feeling fond of Classical and being grateful for how it influenced her view of education and inclusivity.

“My research at Oxford stemmed from a passion for eliminating academic biases that I think stems from Classical, where you can see the different forms of intelligence in class or painted across the hallway walls.”

The child of a Jewish woman who was never allowed to practice her faith meaningfully, she made efforts at Classical to connect with her heritage. While in high school, she joined multiple Jewish youth organizations, like BBYO, where she was the president of the Providence and greater Rhode Island Judy Ann Leven (JAL) chapter. Classical’s diverse environment put Richter in contact with other Jewish students, who made her want to connect with her heritage even more. “I think I met a lot of Jews in Providence and Classical that were so proud of their heritage and upbringing, and I wanted to be a part of that and reclaim what my mom had lost.”

In addition to the tough choice of switching majors, Richter has also had to decide her career paths in preparation for when she graduates. She believes that the “choice of whether to opt for my master’s degree or try finding work in the publishing field is a big turning point for me.” Despite knowing that her field is a particularly difficult one to break into, she still to some extent feels she ought to leave education behind and enter the professional field. Richter wants to jump into the field that she has, until now, been only able to study from afar. If she chooses to venture out into the professional world she believes that the master’s degree may have to be a later goal for her.

While at least 80 percent of college students change their majors at some point, sometimes motivated by economic viability, Sophia’s decision came from her experiences at Classical and how it informed her on what she wants out of life. No matter what she decides, whether it be continuing her education or delaying it to venture into the professional field, the lessons Richter learned from her experience at Classical will stay with her.

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