Faculty are Friends, not Fiends

“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”

This is what Dory, from Disney’s “Finding Nemo”, sings to Marlin in an attempt to lift his spirits.

In our own dip into the waves of college life, we just keep working. Just keep working. Just keep working, working, working. If you find yourself floundering and flailing, please keep in mind, the faculty is not made up of smiling, sharp-toothed sharks. The members of the McDaniel faculty don’t bite. Maybe they nibble a little, but you didn’t need that arm anyway. Just kidding.

If you need a guide through the overwhelming waves of essays, with page counts that seem to only continually increase, find a friend in one of your professors.

Many of our professors encourage students to contact them for assistance, through e-mail, office visits, or phone calls.

Professor Elizabeth van den Berg, theater; Dr. Christianna Leahy, political science; Dr. Stephen Feeley, history; Dr. Mohamed Esa, foreign language; and, Dr. Thomas Deveny, foreign language are just a few who are willing to lend a hand.

“[Professors] really do want to know what you are thinking, any issues you may be having, etc…” states Dr. Mohammed Esa, professor of foreign language

Dr. Esa, hopes students will come to him “to ask many questions;” however, he said “you may not like my answer, but I do appreciate your questions.” Even just a simple, “Good morning. How are you today, Dr. Esa?” would be great.

Freshmen in particular should keep in mind the words of the wise, although a small reminder to upperclassmen also couldn’t hurt.

“Work hard and play,” suggests Professor Elizabeth van den Berg of the Theater Department.

“Be open to new ideas. Think about studying abroad – it would be a great experience,” advises Dr. Thomas Deveny, who teaches Spanish.

“Read your email and check it daily.” This sound advice comes from Political Science Professor Christiana Leahy, who explains, “professors use it to send materials, to contact you, and it is crucial that you check it. Please get in the habit from the first class.”

Dr. Stephen Feeley in the History Department recommends that you “let your inner geek guide you.”

“If you’re too above it all to enjoy any of your classes, you will have a long miserable four years,” he explains. “But if you let yourself geek out, you’ll have the time of your life.”

Get to know your professors. Who are they? How many current students know that Professor van den Berg, who is involved in “Theater, theater, and more theater,” really got married on stage?

Interested in Hispanic cinema, or feel that you really love Don Quixote? Dive into the sea of discussions with Dr. Deveny in search of treasures.

Dr. Leahy spent part of her summer in Honolulu participating in a seminar on “Infusing China and Korea into the Undergraduate Curriculum.” Besides her thrilling vacation tales, however, Dr. Leahy is an equestrian, and says she also does “’horse whispering’ of sorts.”

And did you know that Dr. Feeley fosters beagles waiting for adoption?

Remember, faculty members are friends, not fiends. Have a wonderful year at McDaniel College!