The Eve

I have a crazy Asian Civ final in less than six hours, and I have my question all planned out, a mental image stuck, lodged in my head that just won't go away. I wonder, is what I have enough? Will it wrap around the mind of some hapless reader and pull them towards whatever I have decided to argue? I won't ever know beyond a number on a piece of paper with some helpful marks in red in the margins. Of course you may be curious about what the question is, yet that exists outside of that conversation for now. If it is a test you can't just reveal your weapon of choice before you go off to make war against a final.

However, I can tell you that the class has made a mark on my life. Which makes me think about the other classes which have changed my life in significant ways. I flashback to last year by this time when I was preparing for an exam in Gardner Campbell's Eng 295, Intro to Literary Studies. No class has shaped me so much. Even though now I sit a year since then as a History-Anthro double major, I am forever indebted to that class. Simply put it taught me how to think. I, until then, was less than an exceptional student. My college life had only proven that I would be an average thinker who could maybe stumble on a good thought once in a blue moon. Those days were utterly dark; you show up to class wondering how each session or assignment would crush you further. Something started to change. I had been called..."colleague." Doctor Campbell gave us the respect he would bestow on his peers; classes were not lectures, but conversations where he would question our conclusions, force us to explain the thoughts that lead to a statement. How powerful! The analysis of prose, poetry, literary critics produced a dialog where I could talk about my thoughts and opinions on a work. Never before had my opinion counted. The forums set in place by Campbell created a platform for us to talk as a class. We could seek knowledge out through classes, forums, and mental expeditions into the readings.

I didn't make an A. I discovered a mode of thinking.

At the end of that course, Gardner revealed that he would be leaving us to do work at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Baylor, let me tell you this: You should be proud that you have that man at your university--his courses birth scholars, not students. Since that course, nearly everything single Mary Washington student flourished in their own academic pursuits. I chalk this matter up to the skills gained there. It was never about answers, but the questions that needed to be asked. It must be remembered that the answer is only as good as the question. My adventure into the sphere of concepts, thinkers and doers did not remain stagnant after the English 295 mental rebirth.

I now throw myself against the histories of a world that has been so far from me, yet always alluring me. My boyhood and younger teenage interests converge in a course on Asian history. I pursue that knowledge by asking questions and think beyond a surface level interpretation. The future of my own studies has been greatly altered. Do I make the great grades? No. But I will take the knowledge with me, internalized and transformed to affect the world around me.

No comments: