Calem Parrish ’17 — Today, we went to the port city of Ostia. It was an absolutely mesmerizing experience. The journey itself was a big challenging, because we experienced a transportation strike in the city. However, with some quick adaptations, we were all able to make it to Ostia in a timely manner. When we arrived, the area was breathtaking. I will always appreciate being able to finally see these significant archeological findings in person (rather than a textbook). One phrase that we had heard several times throughout the day was “democratizing a rather hierarchical system,” which seemed like an overwhelming point to keep in mind throughout the day; however, this phrase was continuously brought to mind. Everywhere that we visited demonstrated this pivotal point. One overlooked place for this was the public restroom in Ostia. In one of the city’s streets, there was a full restroom for approximately 20 people to freely use in antiquity. In terms of “democratizing a rather hierarchical system,” the restroom would have allowed the poorer citizens to share space with the upper-class people in Ostia. Thus, instead of stratifying the classes to a greater extent, the different classes were able to co-exist and interact.
Later in the day, I was able to give a presentation on one of the oldest cults. Here, I was best able to utilize different aspects of my liberal arts experience. I had the opportunity to practice my rhetoric by giving a public speech, classics by showing my general knowledge from my major, sociology by discussing how people were involved in the cult and why, Latin by being able to translate what was found in the mosaic, and much more. This experience has helped me to realize how much I have learned over the past four years and demonstrate how I am able to think critically even when presented with something, just previously, unseen to me.