One of the greatest blessings of my life is the abundance of mentors I’ve been gifted with over the course of my academic journey. I’ve had more opportunities than I can count to meet faculty, staff, and students whom I can regard as mentors. These are people who’ve been there as a source of advocacy, encouragement, and inspiration as I’ve moved from degree to degree. These are the people who, more than anyone, have helped to shape me into the person I am today. These are the people whom I believe will continue to mold me in the years to come.
That belief is easy to proclaim. The challenge, when it came to this topic and the penning of this reflection, was deciding who I can regard as the most influential mentor I’ve been blessed with over the course of my academic journey. Fortunately, I didn’t have to contemplate that long or hard before the answer came. The first literature instructor I had as an undergraduate was/is my greatest influence. Dr. Victoria (Tory) Burkhart Faherty exemplified what it means to be an excellent role model as a writer, teacher, and human being.
She was always willing to provide meaningful advice, which I believe is among the best constructive criticism I’ve ever received. I never had a doubt that any critique Tory offered, she offered to help me produce the best work possible. She was willing to help me embrace my potential as a writer. She knew I’d been burned by the poor grades (C) I’d received in two Freshman Composition classes, and had emerged from that experience with doubt in my ability to express myself effectively in writing. Fortunately, she saw the potential my writing still had, and was able to convince me that I had something unique and powerful to offer. In fact, thanks to Tory’s guidance and inspiration, I not only received great grades for future literature courses, but majored in English for my BA and MA degrees.
Thanks to her enduring influence, I have no doubt that my writing will only continue to progress. Moreover, I’m confident that the degree program I’m in now will provide opportunities for me to develop as a writer and make a difference in the realm of Library Science/Library Information Science.
Thanks to her, I can hope and believe that I can inspire the students and peers I’ll work with in the future. So wherever you are, Tory, I reach out to you in spirit to celebrate the difference you continue to make in my life. If I can say at the end of my life that I influenced at least one person as much as you inspired me, I can proclaim that my life was well lived.