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Four Years at the Mount

Freshman year

Dr. Dorsey

Angela Tongohan
Class of 2020

(1/2017) If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. –John Quincy Adams

The first semester of my freshman year is over, and I have just started to get used to life in college. It has been quite the ride. Leaving home, meeting new people, getting used to unfamiliar responsibilities, and sticking to self-made routines piled on top of school work and studying have made these past five months feel like a mere few weeks.

Time went by so fast, yet so much has happened.

Freshmen at Mount St. Mary’s University are required to take a symposium class. The class is English-based. We read stories and books, then analyze and synthesize the meanings that we have extracted from them. Sometimes, we may write a paper or two. Our first assignment for symposium was a biographical narrative. I wasn’t very excited for it.

I entered college as a biology major. Ever since I was a young girl, my mother wanted me to go to med school. It was never something forced upon me, but rather an ever-present subject she hoped for and encouraged. I wasn’t against the idea, and I think, in some ways, I always knew that I would eventually end up in medicine somehow. But for the longest time, I wanted to be a writer. For however long I knew I would eventually be a doctor, was the same amount of time I knew I loved to write.

However, when I first entered symposium class, I hadn’t written for a very long time.

My narrative was about a teacher I had in high school. An English teacher, to be specific. She was an intelligent woman whose mind held as much information about English as my textbook did. You could ask her about Dickens or Austen, Shakespeare or Poe, and she would be able to spend hours praising them and their skills.

But if you asked her about your own writing… well, let’s just say I never felt good about myself or the papers I wrote after meeting with her.

After high school, I had given up on writing. The multiple C’s and D’s from her class had convinced me that I was not meant to write. My aspirations of becoming a writer were thrown away, and I focused myself on a career in medicine.

And for some time, I believed that that would be the end of it. That is, until my professor became Dr. Peter Dorsey.

Dr. Dorsey is an easygoing man and is the Dean of Liberal Arts, so he always shows up to class in a suit, and he lugs around a satchel filled with papers.

Not once did Dr. Dorsey make me feel bad about my writing. He only showed me ways that I could improve it. When I made a mistake, he wouldn’t make me feel like I was a terrible writer, but rather guide me so I wouldn’t make that mistake again.

Dr. Dorsey helped rekindle my love for writing. He allowed me to write with my own personal style instead of trying to make me write the way he writes. He supported and encouraged all my ideas, as well as the rest of the class’, and simply made writing fun.

I found myself making a bigger effort to write well. I appreciated his criticisms because I knew that it was helping me become a better writer.

He recommended me to the Dean of English, and after a few meetings with her, I had decided to double major in English and Biology. He was also the one who presented the opportunity to write for this newspaper, it is also him that boosted my morale, and gave me the confidence to try and apply.

Dr. Dorsey has played such an integral part in my writing career within the span of a few months, which only proves how much our teachers can impact our lives.

Teachers are some of the biggest influences on our lives as students. They are the forefront leaders on our journeys towards our future careers. I believe very strongly that teachers can influence the direction a student decides to take in his life.

We look towards them for inspiration and support, for guidance and knowledge. We spend more time with them than we do our own parents. Our teachers play a vital role in how we shape out to be in the future.

It takes a certain type of leadership skill to be able to deal with so many students, but also continue to teach us. I think we often forget how much of a sacrifice teachers make. For every test we take, there is a teacher that has to grade it. For every class we have, there is a teacher that has to plan it. And for every question we ask, there is a teacher that has to be able to answer it.

Teachers have the ability to inspire, to guide, to support, and to teach future leaders of our world. It is the knowledge and skills that students learn from our teachers today that can help make a more prosperous tomorrow.

So, I’d like to thank all those unsung heroes, our teachers, for guiding us towards a better future and life. Thank you, Dr. Dorsey.

Read other articles by Angela Tongohan