Matthew Pahl

At what point in your college experience did you realize that History was the major for you?

Dr. Schroeder’s European Experience during my sophomore year did it for me. At that point in time, Dr. Schroeder’s class challenged me far more than any other course I had taken at St. John’s. I soon realized that the major would continue to challenge me in the same manner while giving me insight on how the world functions.

Of all of your experiences in pursuing your degree, what was the greatest lesson you learned?

The greatest lesson I learned was to enjoy what I study. I must admit, it was hard to get over the skin-deep impracticality of a History major, but I enjoyed it. Now I find that I got much more out of my degree than some of my peers, and I had a great time doing it.

How has having your degree led to your career or shaped your life?

I currently am teaching 1st grade in the Navajo Nation through Teach For America. Having no background in education, the problem solving skills I gained through my History degree are used extensively on a daily basis. In addition, I really feel like I learned how to properly investigate and respect other cultures, which comes in handy when learning about and living in Navajo culture.

If there is one History class that you could take all over again, what would it be? Why?

I would take my Historiography class over again with Derek Larson. The topic was History of the American West, which was a dazzling experience. At the time of the class, I hadn’t known that I was going to live in New Mexico, and I would like to take it again with that knowledge.

What do you miss most about your college experience?

I miss the tight community that Saint John’s has. Whether it was a professor, monk, or peer, there were an amazing amount of resources that helped shape me.

Do you have any advice for current history majors/minors at CSB/SJU?

Enjoy the classes you take that are restricted for History majors and minors. While having students from other disciplines enhance your other classes, being in a room filled with students that have the same academic interests as you is an exceptional experience.