This week we hear from one of our graduate students! Stephanie Culp graduated this fall with an MA in Classics. She also received the Spirit of Brock Medal at convocation. This is a prestigious award given by the Board of Trustees to a graduating student in each faculty who best exemplifies the spirit of Sir Isaac Brock in leadership, courage, innovation, inspiration, and community involvement.
Stephanie, who is currently putting her teaching skills to work with Brock’s A-Z Learning Services, took the time to share her experience with us. Thank you, and congratulations!
At the Graduate Student Orientation this fall, I was asked to provide some words of wisdom and encouragement as a welcome to new Brock University Graduate Students. Having just printed my Major Research Paper for submission, I was feeling on top of the world. I told the students some stories about how I had fallen, lost my way, and, of course, got back up again, but there were two take-aways. First, when in doubt, rub some dirt in it – an expression often heard in rural southern Ontario, my home. Second, and more important, was not to lose sight of all the small moments that make up the next two years of your life.
When I began my MA in Classics at Brock all I could think of was completing it. Soon after beginning, I realized how many amazing opportunities were available to me. By getting involved with the Center for Pedagogical Innovation through their Graduate Student Teaching and Learning in Higher Education professional development and by submitting to almost very possible conference that was feasible to attend, I found that my graduate experience became far more than I bargained for.
Honestly, I had no idea that when I began in September of 2014 that I would be graduating two years later having given several academic papers, received numerous scholarships and recognitions and be graduating with the distinction of the Spirit of Brock Medal. All I could think about was finishing.
Now, looking back, I appreciate even more spending Saturday mornings in CPI workshops, Reading Week discovering the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae and Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, Sunday afternoons in Archaeological Institute of America lectures, and the many late nights in the Loeb library/Graduate Student workroom in the Classics Department.
Receiving the Spirit of Brock Medal is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, but it is one moment in a long string of amazing moments that shaped what my graduate experience was.
If I had to select one moment that represented my graduate experience it would be the summer of 2015, standing at the summit at Delphi in Greece looking out on ruins of the Temple of Apollo thinking about the famous words – γνῶθι σεαυτὸν – know thyself. That moment was one I had dreamt of for many years and, I will admit, there were tears, but it spoke volumes about my program, myself and my graduate experience.
My graduate experience was full of moments where I had to make a choice and anyone who knows me would say that I “never say no.” Brock University provided the opportunities such as scholarships, conferences, and professional development. I took those opportunities and brought my love for Classics everywhere.
The moment I walked onto the stage to receive the Spirit of Brock Medal all those moments came rushing over me and I realized that this was the cherry on top of an amazing sundae that I spent two years beautifully crafting. I hadn’t thought about “just finishing” since that first week of graduate school and now it was over.
Enjoy the little things!