“The beginning is the most important part of the work”

grad

Graduation. Not pictured: All the wonderful teachers who helped me get there (except for Oly in the background).

… said Plato. I’m reaching a new beginning now, having completed my Master’s degree (all that’s left is the publication of our final project). At this milestone, I started to think about the impact teachers have had on my life. My Medill professors certainly deserve credit for many enriching experiences over the past year-and-a-half. I never thought it’d be possible to learn so much in such a short time.

There were many teachers before them as well. My language teachers especially left lasting impressions. When my first English teacher, a resolute woman with short brown hair, walked into our seventh grade class, she wouldn’t speak German. Instead she loudly and enthusiastically showered us in English words, none of which we understood.

The shock therapy worked. Four years later, I knew English well enough to spend a year at an American high school, where for some reason I was assigned to an AP English class. We read the Crucible and I did a report on McCarthyism. I was very proud when I got an A in my final semester.

At the same Virginia high school, my photography teacher instilled a love for this art in me that persists today. Developing my own pictures was magical, shaking the little container back and forth until I unrolled a wet filmstrip from it. Every step of the way, those photographs were my creations.

In my final two years, my English class was probably the best part of the schoolweek. Our teacher read current novels with us and challenged us to our own interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. We still meet for BBQs with him every summer.

And while I may not remember how to conjugate greek verbs in all three forms, the enthusiasm my greek teacher brought to instilling in us a “dead” language was contagious. It lead to a deep appreciation of Europe’s shared philosophical ancestors, such as the above-mentioned Plato.

capAt Medill, I was lucky enough to be taught by some equally dedicated and engaging professors. It started with Oly Oloroso, who pretty much has legendary status with students (if not school administrators). Marcel Pacatte’s encouragement and wit were priceless. Matt Mansfield, Owen Youngman, Alec Klein and Darnell Little are all experts in their fields, and they generously shared their knowledge with us. I learned more from them than I realized at the time.

Some of the best teachers, I found, are our peers. I’m blessed to call some amazingly talented and smart people my friends, people who I know will make a difference in our profession. My friends at Medill have been an invaluable part of my experience. They have shown me everything from specific skills to new perspectives on life – and, of course, a good time.

Thank you all for your friendship, advice and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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