TU Tigers Got Swagger
By Alicyn Ames
My last name is a curse, for it starts with an "A" which means I am the first to be called; I am the test dummy. I slip out of my seat, roll my shoulders back and maintain control over my steps as I walk toward the stage. The thoughts in my head drown out the sound of my heels clicking against the floor of Auburn House, "This is silly, I'm not even sure why I'm here…" Before I could even finish my thought, Professor Jenny Atwater announces that Professor Norton had nominated me for my quiet confidence and swagger during her advocacy and argument class. The corners of my lips fold upwards as I realize that a respectable, passionate woman, such as Professor Norton acknowledged me for my passion. As I returned to my seat, it dawned on me that I was leaving college, I was entering the real world and despite knowing my exceptional GPA, for the first time I became proud of all my hard work.
I did not realize that in the midst of unleashing my argument last fall, for a memorandum to be placed on offshore oil drilling, I had ignited a flame inside my professor's head. I had ignited a flame that would inevitably burn restlessly enough to result in a lasting impression.
You cannot accurately measure swagger on a Scantron test form. Good grades are noticeable, but do they show passion? On April 29 of this year, Towson University's MCCS Department held its annual "Spotlight on MCCS Outstanding Seniors" awards ceremony in order to acknowledge those students with the kind of drive and force that leave a lasting impression on the collegiate professors of TU. Grades are important, but it is the other aspects of an individual that need recognition. It is the personality of the student, or the fire in one's eyes that leave an impression on a scholar.
Much like that of a dancer, a student fuels well from critique and recognition of excellence. Overlooked by many institutions, rewarding students with a few simple words could turn a sinking student into an upcoming legend.
Prior to the ceremony, professors confess that it becomes an intense rat race for the chance to nominate that one student who has left a lasting impression. TU has truly created an event that allows excitement and gratefulness for both faculty and students.
When I received a letter from TU, explaining to me that I had been nominated by one of my professors in the MCCS program, I filled with momentous excitement, simultaneously standing there baffled. One of my professors actually thought so credibly of me? I mean sure, I do exceptionally well in school, and I am one of those students who begin to feel school sick by the approaching of summer's end. The feelings I succumbed to were those that almost all of the 42 students being recognized felt, and that does not even include the 13 additional MCCS scholarship winners.
Upon arrival to the Auburn House, where the event was held, I ran into another award winner, Jessica Farmer, a graduating senior who I had the pleasure of getting to know during the previous minimester's study abroad in the UK. The evening was filled with three-course meals, beverages, chatter and laughter. Students scuffled around faculty for the chance to subtly give thanks for the chance to be there. During the ceremony, students are asked one by one to come up the stage where they receive a personal commentary by the professor who picked him/her, explaining why he/she has been special enough to be there.
"I feel like none of us knew what to expect at the ceremony," admits honoree Jessica Farmer. "We didn't know who nominated us or what it meant. In fact, I don't think it was until we got on stage and heard the professor's comment that it really hit home; I think that's when it became a memorable moment in my life."
For years students work rigorously in effort of impressing someone they look up to, whether it is a parent/guardian, a best friend, a company or a teacher. There is something indescribably rewarding about having the ability to impress those all-knowing persons who shape tomorrow's leaders.
Passion drives life. A GPA or grade on an assignment gives a momentary spark; but knowing you have left a mark in someone's mind, starts the everlasting fire.
For the first time, I feel like I have earned my stripes as a TU tiger; I've got the swagger of a college kid.