Posted by: mydarkestplaces | June 17, 2012

Reflection on my education

I’m sure this will come as a shock to no one, but I was a lackluster student. This had nothing to do with not being smart enough, but more to do with lack of inspiration. The professors and teachers who were able to get me to do work were precious few and far between (ask me: in 18 years of education I can count on hand the number of teachers who inspired me).

Today I wrote a message to one of those few. Dr. Gabriel, I’m calling you out.

I am borderline obsessed with Russia. What started because of a class on the 350 years of St. Petersburg history grew in a subsequent class on the Russian Revolution and solidified with classes on 20th Century European history and a capstone paper on the Soviet Union during the Stalin years. Now, I will be perfectly honest with you. My paper was pretty well crap. By the time I got to my senior year, I was over just about everything. It was one of those transitional years that really takes your mind and heart by storm. All I wanted to do was graduate and get the eff out of dodge.

But a funny thing has happened since college. My thirst for knowledge has proven insatiable. I’ve been unable to pass by any book on early Soviet history. Some of the books that I’ve added to my already vast personal library are some of the very books that I had cherry picked tidbits out of for that capstone paper. I’ve been able to build some fairly comprehensive, defensible positions on how Soviet history is taught (or not) in the States. My mind has this insatiable thirst for more. Some of that is because I’m generally a curious person who just wants to know why, but a lot of it has to do with Dr. Gabriel  firing my imagination.

Dr. Gabriel is the living personification of all that is right with Liberal Arts education. My only regret in the classes I took with Dr. Gabriel is that I didn’t work harder for him.


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