Jane Adams is a junior at Christendom College, where she studies philosophy and classics. A member of her school’s ISI society, The Cincinnatus League, Jane is also an RA, an academic mentor, and the former secretary of the Chester-Belloc Debate Society. Jane was a 2016 Intercollegiate Studies Institute honors scholar. That same summer, she received a scholarship to study ancient Greek in Cork, Ireland. Jane’s chief intellectual interests include the philosophy of human nature and ancient and medieval history.
- How did you find out about ISI? What drew you to get involved in ISI's programming?
I discovered the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) through the ISI sponsored group at my school, the Cincinnatus League. I was invited to join the discussions, which begin as book-based discussions, but often wandered over many interesting topics. We read a number of fascinating works together including The End of The Modern World by Romano Guardini and Tradition by Josef Pieper. It was wonderful to discover a community that tackled serious issues in an intelligent manner.
- If you had to choose one highlight of your undergraduate experience, what would it be?
Picking one highlight is very hard, but if I must, I would definitely pick my travels. I have spent time in Ireland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Rome. Travel is one of the simplest, yet most rewarding, ways to educate yourself. My time overseas has afforded me a sense of the many differences between cultures, as well as the shared human nature of all people. I am blessed to have been able to spend so much time exploring different parts of the world.
- What have you valued most about your ISI experience?
Probably the most important part of ISI is the ability to meet so many thoughtful and intelligent people, both students and professors. I have been privileged to make many friends and have countless discussions about so many topics.
- How have you spent your summers while in college?
My summer experiences have certainly been unique. My first summer during college I spent working as a costumed docent at a historical museum, interpreting the life of yeoman farmer in seventeenth century Worcestershire, England. My second summer, I went to the Honor Scholars conference, and then spent the rest of my summer in Cork, Ireland studying Ancient Greek.
- Whom do you admire most, and why?
My greatest intellectual hero is Socrates. Plato’s dialogues were my first real introduction to philosophy. I was—and am—captivated by Socrates’ passion for the truth. Every time I read the dialogues, especially the Symposium and the Apology, I am inspired by his probity, as well as his ability to hold an intelligent discussion.
A more modern hero of mine is the late Christopher Hitchens. I find his intellectual honesty and forthright opinions refreshing. His speaking and writing skills are superb. Although I disagree with him on many issues, he is always lucid and thought-provoking.
- What advice would you give to other students who want to preserve the principles of liberty?
The most important skill for a conservative at college is the ability to communicate intelligently. Read deeply, listen to excellent speakers, and practice articulating what you think. Publish an article in your campus newspaper, or seek out discussions with people who have divergent viewpoints. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to find a mentor to talk about your ideas with. Nothing is so important as having a guide who can help you to refine your thoughts and communicate them well.