Full Circle

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"Okay everybody, good job, thanks for all your work this semester," were the final words I will remember as the last spoken from a professor in a college class. I am a senior now. Three and a half solid years in, one semester of student teaching to go. And Friday, I participated in my last class at Seton Hill, Writing for the Internet with Dr. Jerz. It's funny though, that nastalgic experience forced me to remember my first ever class at Seton Hill.

Sitting there, my fingers firmly gripping the mechanical pencil, I stared at fifteen strangers in the small square classroom, my first college class ever. I made small talk with a few of the unsure faces around me, not realizing that these would soon become my best friends and I would be sharing the next four years with them in and out of the classroom. Then Dr. Jerz walked into the class, my first professor. He began giving a monologue, and I honestly can't remember what it was, but I do remember what I was thinking. "Oh my God, I can't do this."

I was so overwhelmed that first semester. I had to write papers I'd never written in my life, do difficult research, critically analyze works of literature, write newspaper articles, and many other things. And I honestly don't think I would have made it, if it weren't for those strangers sitting in that scary classroom with me. We made it together. We lost a few along the way, some changed majors, some transferred schools, but we all shared that first college experience together (except for the Katies, they were seniors). And when someday, we are sitting at our child's high school graduation party, and he walks up to us and says, "Dad, what was it like to start college?," we will all be able to look back on that first class with Dr. Jerz, and a group of frightened freshmen and say, "you'll be just fine."

I'm glad I stuck it out. I've gone four years as an English major. I began with Dr. Jerz, and ended with Dr. Jerz, and couldn't be more proud of what I've accomplished. I feel fulfilled as I hope the other fifteen members of that Drama as Literature course do. It's been a journey, a long journey, with some rough spots. I've made relationships that no doubt will last my lifetime. I thank those professors, especially the ones I was close enough for form relationships with, for pushing me from my nest and stretching me beyond my comfort zone to transform me into the person I could potentially become. I thank my classmates, especially the ones that made it to the end with me. We've helped each other, we've complained together, we've pulled all nighters, and we made it. I'm really excited to begin the next phase of my life but I wanted to take a moment and reflect on these years I won't forget. It was a blast.

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Dear Andy,

Wow! I was quite thrilled to get your email this morning. Reading this brought back a lot of pleasant memories, especially of meeting you, Denamarie, Chera, Amanda, Danielle, Loren, Kayla, Kevin, and Rachel.

Lamb and I will never forget the first day of our last year, either. We were so excited to begin our Drama as Literature class that we started our blogging homework over the summer. This, of course, helped us to stay ahead of the game and be able to make new friends in the class, while remembering the old.

I don't remember Dr. Jerz's monologue, either. But I do remember thinking these little freshmen are so precious; so much so, that I called my mimi to tell her all about my new peers and just how sweet they were. Subsequently, Mimi came to SHU and saw you all; she, too, saw what I saw: my precious freshmen.

As a senior that year, it was nice to get to know the emerging English majors, and to hopefully, influence your studies while passing the proverbial literature torch. I will never forget walking to Brownlee in the snowstorm to study for our final. You all were so enthusiastic and nervous that it comforted me knowing you'd be the future of SHU's English program: you all cared.

It was even better to get to know you all as friends. It was certainly nice to have lunch with you all, talk about Marilyn Monroe (and 50 Cent), go to your basketball games, and talk with you about life. Though I didn't have classes the next semester with you, I am certainly glad we've all kept in touch , and I am delighted that I get to see you around SHU now as I teach freshmen. The feeling of coming full circle is something totally relatable for me, too.

I wish you the best of luck in your student teaching, as I know you're going to influence lives and inspire students. (I already know you do this, as I've heard remarkable comments on the Writing Center's finest staff!) The view is quite different (and quite splendid) from the front of the room.

Goodluck in your endeavors - you're bound for success, and do keep in touch always. Even though you were not my first group of freshmen to teach, (technically), you'll always be my precious freshmen.


It's definitely been a journey, but through all the trials an tribulations, we indeed made it.

Thank you for writing this blog, Andy. You really made me realize how far we have all come from our first class freshman year.

I wish you the best of luck with student teaching and all future endeavors ahead of you.

those are some good memories. I totally forgot about studying for our final. I can definitely tell how my attitude toward finals has changed in the last four years too, lol. I used to spend days studying, now I spend a few hours before. Anyway, I'm glad you can look back and remember us and our first college experiences.

Thanks for the good luck, I know I'll still see you around but I'm glad we got to know each other from this class... and I guess living 1 floor apart in Brownlee. Anyway, good luck to you as well, with everything.

Thank you, Andy, for sending me this link as well. It was a nice surprise on my first morning after a strenuous last stretch to the end of the semester, and it vaulted me into a hundred memories from freshmen year. I remember being so scared that first class and meeting everyone, and how I must have looked incredibly goofy with that pink backpack on you later laughed at me for wearing. I learned more through you guys inside the classroom and back in the halls of Brownlee more than I have from any other group of friends I've made since then. It's been almost two years since I've stepped foot on that campus or in the once familiar halls of Admin, but I hope you know I think of the experiences I had there every day at Susquehanna. It was that first semester's classes that really shaped my idea of college and what I was in for.

Thanks for posting this, Andy. I am already getting sentimental about graduating and coming "full circle" and I still have two semesters left in this world. You are going to be so successful and a wonderful teacher. Wherever you end up, your future students and colleagues are lucky to be around someone like you.

Talk to you soon buddy,

It was the Chorus speaking the opening lines to Henry V:

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

I then put the whole speech up on the screen and walked us through it.

I really enjoyed that class. I thought I noticed a real spark of additional energy right after the first oral presentation, when you learned that you weren't supposed to be performing for me, but rather, presenting for the benefit of your peers.


I am also glad that you sent me the link to your blog (it was a nice break from writing this Chaucer paper). I always think of freshman year and, especially this year, how far I've come. I think of everyone else as well. We've all changed, whether we realize it or not, and for those of us going on to student teach, grad school, or the real world of jobs and careers, that first day (and first semester) will always be with us. I, too, think about what I would tell my future kids about my experience with college. Not only will they be alright but they'll make unforgettable friends and nights that they'll never be able to experience anywhere else but college.

I remember being very shy and timid in that class. I was also a little nervous when Dr. Jerz walked in, speaking enthusiastically that poem he wrote above in his response and thinking that I was going to need all the help I could get. I just don't think I realized how much I would get from the students in that class.

It was a blast being in classes with you Andy. I'd say good luck, you'll inspire lives and you'll succeed but everyone else has written that. Instead, I'll say a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "It is not length of life, but depth of life."


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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on December 8, 2008 8:07 AM.

Bringing Things Together was the previous entry in this blog.

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