Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Little Lost & A Heartfelt Thank You...

As a new semester at Tarleton State University dawns without me, for the first time in eight years, I can hardly help but feel a little bit, well, lost. Eight years is a long investment, I feel like Tarleton has become a major part of my life, and without it I feel a bit like I don't know who I am. Without class work, term papers and exams, thesis chapter deadlines, even the teaching assistantship I did as a grad student, I'm feeling a little bit forlorn. It's a bit like the feeling I had when I graduated high school. I couldn't be happier about never having to go back, but I also couldn't figure out what, exactly, I should be doing with myself, either. I cried on and off for months after high school graduation and though I've managed to avoid that particular malady this time, I still feel the same emptiness that, if anything, is magnified by the time and effort I've invested in getting this far.

Me with Dr. Mallory Young - August 2012

But, more than the loss of Tarleton as my safe harbor, I'm feeling a particular loss at the realization that I'll never attend another English class with some of the most amazing professors I've had the pleasure of knowing. In particular, Dr. Mallory Young, who I was fortunate enough to take many classes with as an undergraduate and who was endlessly patient with me as my graduate committee chair. There are, if we're fortunate, a few people in our lives who provide us with sources of endless inspiration and encouragement. For me, that person is Dr. Young and without her I truly believe that I would not have made it through my undergraduate education, let alone my amazing years as a graduate student. Without her encouragement, I might never have attempted graduate education, which has been among the most fulfilling experience of my life.
Her unwavering patience, unyielding willingness to be completely honest when honesty was necessary, and her constant availability were invaluable to me throughout the course of my education. She has been so influential to my education, in fact, that her scholarly pursuits in women's literature and popular culture--with both Chick Lit & Chick Flicks--were a very influential in inspiring my thesis's subject matter. I respect her immensely and am saddened by my lack of future opportunities to learn more from her. Yet as I move forward, I also feel certain that the education I've received from Tarleton's English department, and from Dr. Young, will see me through whatever the next chapter might happen to be.  I know with certainty that as long as I live, I will never feel like "thank you" is sufficient for all she has given me and all she has inspired me to do.

Yet, it's all I have, the only even somewhat adequate sentiment available. So, thank you, Dr. Young.

Je vous remercie de tout cœur.

Thank you.