My Most unforgettable experience was the first time I entered the Dean's office and had a talk with the Academic Dean, Ron Watters. A talk I would always treasure for the rest of my life. This happened during my second year of studies in IGSL. I entered the room quietly (or was I tiptoeing) as he whispered for me to sit down. He then tried to remember my name and searched my paper.
You see, being in the Dean's office was always deemed as a dreadful scene for a student. It was equal to a literal death though he claims through a sign in his door that no one has died there, yet. Tension within me started to rise as I waited there to what seemed like eternity.
Earlier that day he told our class that if your paper is not in your box before lunch break then there must have been plagiarism involved or he just wants to have a chat with you (who in the world would want to chat with the academic dean?). He said that we should come and see him at his office if that happens. When I checked my box after class, my paper was not there even though almost all of those who checked their mailboxes with me had theirs in. I got quite nervous. I wasn't planning to go to the Office of Academic Affairs right away but I remembered that I had to talk to the secretary about something, and so I went there. The moment I came in, he was the first person I saw and he immediately signaled for me to come to his office.
When he finally found my paper, he turned back and faced me. My heart started beating wildly. But I noticed his face lighted up instantly. He then handed me my paper and remarked “do you know how hard it is for someone to get this kind of grade for a paper in my class?" My heart stopped for a second, I was expecting that I would be interrogated for accidental plagiarism (though I was very sure that I checked my references right). I started to cool down a bit and he gave me that talk that changed my life as a student. He said that I had a very good paper and that I wrote so well. He also commented that I was already an expert in doing format and footnoting. It was all positive that morning in his office and I wasn't expecting all those good things from the OAA Dean. Before the talk ended he asked me what I wanted to do after seminary. He affirmed my desire to go for further studies and told me I have what it takes to get a PhD.
|My last paper in my 3-year-seminary-life.|
My heart just melted when I heard those words of encouragement and affirmation. A week before that talk, I suffered from diarrhea which made me stay in bed for 3 days. On the date the paper was due, I wasn't even halfway with mine. I asked him for an extension and he readily gave me one. He asked me when would I finish the paper and I told him that I would finish it in 3 days. That would mean the coming Monday and that I had to work over the weekend. I hardly slept for 3 days and I had to isolate myself in my room to finish my paper. I had to read nine thick books to finish my paper. I was already discouraged when Sunday came and I was still undone. But I persevered and I worked hard. It was purely God's grace that I was able to email it to him before 7am on Monday. I slept the whole day because of exhaustion. I was so discouraged already as I had to work still for the other pending papers I had to write
When Kuya Ron gave me that talk, I believed again that I can do it. I dreamed again that I can make it and that I would never give up. Because someone believed in me, I was so cheered up to do things with excellence. That 10 minute talk with him changed my life more than the long hours that I spent listening to him in class. It was there that I truly appreciated his teacher's heart and the grace he taught and practiced.
That experience I will always remember in my lifetime.The impact and encouragement this man had on my life when I was struggling to survive my seminary days was more than the grade I got from that paper. Still thankful for the grade he gave me though. :D