USA Today - September 2, 2003

 Star pupil juggles books and films 

As Julia Stiles is the first to admit, her college degree won't win her an Oscar.

"My joke is that an English major can do everything and nothing," says the actress, currently beefing up her résumé by wrapping The Prince and Me in Prague. "I think my education will shape the rest of my life, but it isn't vocational training. A liberal arts education helps with any career in storytelling."

Stiles, 22, has three semesters left at Columbia University in New York and plans on taking her "sweet time" finishing up.

For the actress, taking a career break for higher learning is a calculated risk in an industry where absence rarely makes fans' hearts grow fonder. Of course, an Ivy League degree gives her that added brainiac cachet.

"I think people certainly approached me with assumptions that I would be arrogant, but that quickly dissolved," says Stiles, who earned spending money by filming the upcoming Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts. "I tried not to worry too much about how I was perceived, and frankly I was intimidated by the intelligence of the other students."

Article by Donna Freydkin
Originally published at USA - Posted on September 2, 2003