Daily Prompt: Teacher’s Pet

Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

First of all, I’d like to say that I had them all in school, the good and the bad. Mostly good, I might add, but in the end, their individual impact wasn’t that strong. At least, I wouldn’t credit anyone of them with as much impact as my university professors.

Of my University professors, there weren’t many whom I knew personally. At least not while I studied physics. I was rather familiar with my physical chemistry professor, I went to two BBQ events that he hosted on the balcony of the Natural Sciences I building, next to his office. But, alas, I didn’t finish physics, mostly due to mathematics, which I was really good at in school; but what you were good at in school doesn’t really count once you go to Uni. I learned that the hard way.

Then I started studying Anthropology. That is where I met the brilliant minds. They knew it wasn’t easy for initiates – I still count myself among those – to grasp the methods of science in the cultural sciences. I had an advantage, because I had already learned to look beyond the obvious. Really, that is something that should be taught in school, and most people don’t learn it until they are very old. I digress.

In my first semester of Anthropology, there was a little wannabe revolution in the education sector, and the universities were the main focus of this revolution. Needless to say, I plunged into the action and to the very center of the matter. I was so full of youthful fervor – I was 24 – that I carried on to the very end. I missed a few lectures, but my professors were tolerant. They were convinced it was a good piece of education to see a group of people organize spontaneously first hand, which was more valuable than any lecture they could give if I went about it the right way.

The professor that encouraged me the most, who would have thought, was my political anthropology professor. Since the semester started in October, the education protest was bound to have difficulties over the Christmas vacation; the buildings where we convened – and some of us slept – were to be locked down for two weeks. We developed the bold plan to make the campus our camp site and keep the fire burning, quite literally, because it could get as cold as 0°F at night, sometimes colder. I committed myself to this endeavor, as did two of my protest buddies, but they soon discovered that they weren’t cut out for that kind of thing. I was never lonely, though. I had several visitors every day and plenty of work chopping wood for the fire, and one of my regular visitors was my political anthropology professor on his daily walk to his office, to work on his research notes. We talked a lot, exchanging opinions, stories and survival techniques – he’d lived in the desert to study the Tuareg Nomads for years.

After the protest, which ended shortly after the Christmas vacation, I took many courses with that professor. My student opinion was valued with most professors, but he took a special interest. When I’ve earned enough money to pay off my debts for student loans, I intend to return to the University. If there is anyone who influenced those intentions, it would definitely be my political anthropology professor

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