Photo by matt d'annunzio
Kalina Hadzhikova 15
Hometown: Sofia, Bulgaria
Who I was when I got to Reed: To be honest, I was kind of a stock character who listened to depressing music, was a slacker in school, and thought I was better than other teenagers because I read books in my room while they socialized.
How Reed changed me: I made amazing friends and drastically widened my intellectual horizons, becoming a more thoughtful and empathetic person. My professors challenged me and gave me the tools to subject my own ideas to critical examination.
Favorite class: Classics 373 (Ancient History: Rome) with Prof. Ellen Millender [classics 2002–] combined a demanding syllabus with a topic I found fascinating: the destabilization of Roman masculinity and Roman identity. The bowling PE class I took as a sophomore comes in a close second because I’ve been beating my friends at bowling ever since.
A concept that blew my mind: I was amazed that you get soda refills in American restaurants. That never happens in Bulgaria. Also, the trees here are so big. The Pacific Northwest looks like a dinosaur documentary.
Outside the Classroom: Worked in the library. Sat on the International Student Advisory Board. Spent a year abroad at the University of Oxford. Organized two ’90s-themed dance parties. Coedited the Student Body Handbook. Learned Latin. Won the Lankford Award.
Thesis: Rome Against the Romans: Configurations of Imperial Authority in Twelfth-Century Western Europe and Byzantium
What it’s about: The various definitions of romanitas, or Romanness, deployed in political discourse at the courts of the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus and the Holy Roman emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, as well as in diplomatic correspondence between Byzantium, Germany, and the papacy, in the 12th century.
What it’s really about: The cultural and political prestige of Roman antiquity at a turning point in medieval history.
What’s next: I’m working as a data analyst and thinking about graduate school.