An Ode to my Favorite Teachers
Every day at Dartmouth is a wonderful journey down a rabbit hole of curiosity. Sometimes, on the walk to class, during lectures, or while discussing intellectual concepts with friends, I marvel at the people around me, grateful to be at Dartmouth pursuing my interests. This week, I'd like to take a step back and appreciate one of the main reasons I am on the track I am on today: my wonderful teachers! The ones who laid the tracks for the course I'm chugging along now-the reason I'm so passionate about what I'm studying (because your teacher really does have the power to transform your academic journey, uncovering a hidden love for a subject!).
It all began when I walked into a sixth-grade classroom and was first exposed to the language of the ancients. With Mr. Hill, a dynamic character to be sure, I learned the basics of the language I would come to love. While the language was a taste I would acquire later in my academic journey, when Mr. Hill began discussing the myth of how the gods came to be, I was entranced. For the first time, I felt excited about what I was learning. I began reading the Percy Jackson series, a collection of fiction novels based off of mythology, and felt incomplete when I was without my current copy.
The next stop is high school, with the wonderfully enthusiastic Dr. Rupp! His overflowing love for classics and exuberance while teaching drew me further to the field. I remember in 8th grade, he mentioned that he was like the stingray from Finding Nemo who would help us explore the depths of the classical world. Taking his classes throughout high school, I dove deeper and deeper. Still enchanted by mythology, I also had an affinity for the stories of ancient heroic battles and was amazed to hear of the world's oldest computer (the Antikythera Mechanism! Look it up it's so cool!!). At the end of every translation class, I found myself on a cliffhanger, eager to attend class the next day to find out what fate held for our heroes in the next line.
At Dartmouth, every classics course I have taken has blown me away. Each one has been my favorite! With Paul Christesen in Antiquity Today, we compared ancient and modern cultures to learn more about the world around us. For example, we compared the violence of the ancient Greek theater (where killings were not shown) with the violence in today's media (movies showing killings) and learned that we as a society are actually more violent than we think. In my current classics course with Margaret Graver, we are studying the philosophy of happiness, as philosophers like Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato did (to name a few). We've also questioned the meaning of happiness, how to get there, and how to stay there; what constitutes the good life and how do we evaluate if someone attains it? Developing answers to these inquiries has been an intellectual journey that's taken me far beyond my prior thinking when it comes to ethics.
Without these teachers, there may have been a roadblock in my path, or it may not even exist. So, I would like to thank all of you for leading the way, so that I can chart a path to a future I enjoy! Thanks for sticking with me!
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