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Catching Up With German Majors: Janice Cheon ’20

Janice Cheon ’20 had always wanted to major in the humanities, but she was not sure which department to choose. At first, she was deciding between comparative literature and music. But Cheon also knew that she wanted to study German, because it is an important language for music studies. Going through the language sequence solidified her interest in German and enticed her to explore the department.

“It was actually talking with Professor [Thomas] Levin and just hearing his experiences as a media theorist, his experiences growing up in a very musical household, and the excitement for cross disciplinary research that was shared by faculty and students that really sold me on the department,” said Cheon.

With the department’s flexible requirements, Cheon was able to also pursue a certificate in music performance as a violinist.

“It was amazing to keep that interdisciplinary mentality alive,” she said.

Moving online in the spring was difficult for Cheon’s research; the bulk of the material was in the Marquand library, which was now inaccessible.

“It was actually a really good methodological training, working on how to shape research around limited resources,” said Cheon.

She was ultimately happy with her thesis and grateful for the department’s support.

Janice also found it difficult to adjust to the new class format.

“A lot of our upper-level seminars are three hours, and I loved that in-person. I thought the discussions were much better than in the eighty-minute seminars, but that was completely flipped with online learning.”

Since graduating from Princeton, Cheon has been working as professor Devin Fore’s research assistant and tutoring people in German.

Cheon advises current students in the German department to be honest with their feelings.

“It is okay to vent to the professors, because the professors are probably feeling the same way you are,” said Cheon.


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