I suppose that I’m a lucky one, having met my mentor the very first day of college, at orientation. At the college I attended for my first year, your adviser was assigned to you by degree, not by major. He was an Historian, I was a budding psychologist, and when combined, we were one power professor/student dynamic that not even Steven Spielberg could recreate.
Dr. Ingoglia is a short, stocky man with bifocal glasses and more hair on his arms than his head. His reputation at the school is one that is tarnished, but he proudly owns. In two semester’s span, I took three classes by him. In times I needed guidance, I’d sit in his office and we’d drink peppermint tea together.
He never told me what I needed to do. Instead, he’d ask me. He asked about my future plans, about my limits, about how hard I’m willing to work, and in shuffling through the right thing to say, I found my lost passion and drive to persevere the long and winding road to a PhD.
There are some teachers that you cross paths with and change you in ways that you didn’t think were possible. His mentoring ways were short lived, but his impression is long lasting. I’ll never forget him or his North Jersey accent, witty humor and his pseudo-cynicism. I only wish that everyone could have a teacher like mine in their college years, even if only for a semester.
In his last e-mail he sent to me, he said that he’s not satisfied that he did his job until I’ve got the title of “Dr. Erica.”
Have you ever had a teacher who inspired you to do more than you believed you were capable of?