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Greek, Law School, and the Not-So-Secret-Ingredient: Writing


After he graduated from Hamilton as a dual major in classical languages and religious studies, Dylan Thayer ’13 discovered his interest in the law and decided to earn a degree at Vanderbilt Law School. One key to his success there? All that writing he did back at Hamilton. Here’s more of what Thayer has to say about how he found his future. 

Was there much common ground between your majors?

I saw my choice of both majors as informing and supporting my decision to have a life and career centered around my Christian faith. I’d been reading Latin since middle school, but I really wanted to learn Greek so that I could read the Bible in its original language. Any language has specific metaphors and turns of phrase that just don’t match up one-to-one in another language. As my favorite Latin professor, Carl Rubino (now retired), likes to say, “Traduttore, traditore”: The translator is to a certain extent always a traitor. I felt that by learning Greek I could better understand the ideas at the root of my faith. And my study of religion as an academic discipline helped me understand not only my own worldview better, but the worldview of the cultures whose influence continues to shape our society.

What sort of job did Hamilton do in preparing you for law school?

Hamilton’s emphasis on writing was probably the key ingredient in my preparation for law school. Even at a top-tier school like Vanderbilt, you’d be surprised how many students walk in with anxiety about even relatively short writing assignments. Although writing in law school is certainly different from writing as an undergrad, there are transferable skills. Hamilton made sure I had those skills.

Is there anything else you'd like to say about Hamilton and/or your career?

The hardest thing about life is that you can only do it once. When I look back on my time at Hamilton, like all current and former students, I see a lot of triumphs and happy moments but also frustrations and missed opportunities. So my advice to current Hamilton students: You’re at a fantastic college with wonderful people! As Scripture says: “many prophets and kings wished they could see what you see and hear what you hear!” Your life, and especially your time at Hamilton, is a huge gift. Make every second count, every single day.  

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