I’m your Academic Dean, and on behalf of all the faculty with whom you’ll be working over the course of your sojourn at Landmark College, I invite you to take an active role in your education. We offer you our services, our supports, our individualized teaching, our intervention to catch you if you fall; in short, our vision of you is as the vortex of a veritable perfect storm of learning opportunities.
In return, you should ask yourself some questions about what you have to offer the College (and yourself) as learners. You need not answer them immediately, but you should keep them in mind as you face yourself and your work as a student at the College. Remember that the glorious thing about college is that classes end at the close of each semester. The question is not only “What have I done?” and “What did I learn?” but:
What will I do?
What are my strengths?
What do I want to learn?
No one comes to college complete, perfect and ready to graduate. However, most first-year students come to college expecting that upon completion of their classes, or the semester, or the year, or upon graduation, they will know the answers. I’m here to tell you that no one ever fully knows the answers: not Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors or Seniors. That’s the excitement and the thrill of learning, and why you must never give up hope in yourself and in the process of learning, no matter what path you choose or how difficult it may be.
Let me offer you an analogy. I’m a literature professor—and an amateur actor; one of my favorite roles is that of Ariel in Shakespeare’s Tempest. As you may know, Shakespeare’s elementals are very fey—unhuman—aligned with the natural and supernatural worlds, and not a part of our everyday understanding of our struggles and our desires. The Tempest, as the title suggests, begins with a terrific storm, and a ship carrying a king and his son is seemingly wrenched apart and dashed upon the rocks. One of Ariel’s tasks is to lead the prince to another location on the island, and s/he does this by singing of the king's (his father’s) death:
Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
(Did I mention that elementals do not have the same feelings as humans?) The Prince’s father is not dead, as it turns out, but the Prince is going to believe this song until the end of the play when he is reunited with the King. Nice? No. Effective? Yes. Transformational? In the most painful of ways. The Prince must recognize himself as an independent adult, self-autonomous and separate.
As your elemental—as your Dean, I assure you:
Nothing of you will remain static while you’re here. The faculty, the staff and I are here to help, support, guide and challenge you as you undergo your education. We guarantee that you will suffer a sea-change: into something rich and strange…
Dr. Adrienne Major
EAB, Room 212