Summer Reading for the Class of 2018: ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is required reading for students entering the Steinhardt School this fall.  The book will be discussed in the New Student Seminar, a course that offers students a way to explore their role in the community using the reading as a guide.

Wild tells the story of Strayed’s journey on foot across the Pacific Crest Trail.  After the death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, the author takes to the open road with an overstuffed backpack, a trail book, and a pair of too-tight hiking boots.

“We thought Wild would serve as a wonderful metaphor to shape our discussion about issues that students face when they leave home and embark on college life,” said Patricia Carey, associate dean for student affairs.  “Wild is about a journey to a new place, about the challenges, surprises, and tribulations that make us stronger and that ultimately teach us how to live our lives.”

At the New Student Seminar, freshman and transfer students will be exploring the book’s literary and psychological themes, as well as looking at how individual circumstance and agency can influence their personal narratives.  They will also discuss leaders whose visions influenced social movements and create a project centered on the seminar’s theme, “Mapping Our Journeys: Discovering the World.”

(Photo:  Cheryl Strayed, 10 days into her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in June 1995)

For Students:  The New Student Orientation Outline for Wild.