Meghan DiLuzio, an alumna from the class of 2004 and doctoral candidate for classical studies at Princeton University, presented her research on the Vestal Virgins and discussed her experience with graduate school last Wednesday.
Students and faculty gathered in the New Library Auditorium for the lecture, which was the last in the Young Alumni Lecture Series.
The job of the Vestal Virgins, the female priests of Vesta, was to maintain the fire of Vesta. The chosen virgins were committed to 30 years of priesthood beginning at a young age, and although they experienced many privileges, they also could endure punishments if the fire went out. According to DiLuzio, loss of virginity to any of the six vestals would be disastrous.
DiLuzio was a student of the honors program for history of classics as an undergraduate at the College.
She started her education studying American history and eventually moved to Greek, completing her senior thesis on the Amazons and Greek literature.
DiLuzio suggested that anyone considering completing a senior thesis do so, as it is a “fantastic opportunity” and helps ready students for their graduate work.
Most important, DiLuzio stressed that although graduate school is very difficult and a doctorate in any humanities will require a long commitment, students should not be discouraged if the transition is not as smooth in the beginning as they may have expected and to not give up.
“You have to be really sure that it is something you want to commit to for five to six additional years. The subject takes a long time to finish and you have to understand a lot of your friends will be moving along faster into their own lives, with houses, spouses, etc. It is not for anyone,” she said. “It is definitely worth it if your subject is something you are passionate about.”