His bowtie was perfectly situated. Half of my classmates in the lecture hall wanted to laugh, the other half thought it was cool. All of us were nervous. The class was known for its difficulty, due for the most part to the well-dressed man standing before us. For the next seventy minutes, I joined my classmates with silent groans as we looked at the grading rubric that would be our standard for the next sixteen weeks. My pride beckoned me rise to the challenge the man in the bowtie dared me to accept. Yet as the weeks unfolded, I found that Professor Boyd had much more to teach me that semester than Perspectives on Communication.
For the following weeks we learned about concepts like dialogue, rhetoric, and ethnographic studies. Through our lectures and yes- even bowtie-tying demonstrations- we were taught the material, not only with the goal of good grades, but for the purpose of knowledge. Though I struggled at times, I couldn’t help but come to class wanting to learn. Woven into each lecture, my professor shared not just a textbook, but he shared his passions with us. He sought to change us. Not long into the class I soon discovered another of my professor’s passions.
They say senses hold memories. I know it’s true. The sound of birds. The warmth of a breeze blowing through a screen door. The sight of light refracting through the hundreds of edges of a crystal chandelier.
These memories take me to another place. I see myself running through the yard of my grandparents’ house picking the hard red berries that fell from their tree. I can feel the bushes against my arms while I run the path at the back of their property and smell the prize of the small lemon tree. I can hear the boards of the treehouse groan beneath my feet while I play house with my baby or pretend that I’m a navigator on a great ship.
The grip of memories is fascinating. I barely recall what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can still taste the dates in my six-year-old mouth as I held my grandmother’s hand walking through the neighborhood farmers’ market.