I am, I am, I am

What’s your name, major and hometown?

I’m Anna Story. I’m from Mundelein, IL, and I’m a double major in public relations and writing-intensive English.

What would be the most useful thing for me to know about you as a student?

I work well under pressure (read: I procrastinate).

What do you wish was different about school?

I wish classes all started after 11 am and that tuition didn’t cost more than my life is worth.

Describe a moment in school last year when you felt really engaged. Why do you think that moment was such a positive one for you?

I sat there in Raynor Memorial Library, furiously tapping at my laptop as the clock ticked along, passing the midnight mark. Despite the late hour and unfortunate location, I was happy — excited even — to be doing something I enjoyed and had a real passion for. That night — and the feminist Frankenstein paper I wrote — reminds me of why I’m here, and how I’m so fortunate to be able to pursue my interests.

What do you think teachers think about you, and what do you wish they’d think about you?

I hope my teachers see me as a diligent worker and a bright student — I certainly try my best to come off that way — but I wish they thought I was more opinionated. Of course, that’s my own problem, seeing as I can’t participate in a class with more than 25 people without feeling the urge to puke. Don’t worry, though; I never actually puke.

Tell me about a teacher who you feel knew you well. What kind of student were you in his or her class? What did he or she do to get to know you?

My first semester of freshman year, I took PURE1800 with Professor Branigan. Only a handful of freshmen got into the class, and I was addled with nerves, unsure of what college was like and whether or not I was really prepared for the next four years. Despite going in with a declared major (public relations) I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. Like, really do. Forever.

About halfway through that first semester, I declared writing-intensive English as a secondary major and instantly regretted it, because writing is hard and I get really anxious whenever someone reads anything I wrote. Around that same time, though, I’d completed the first writing assignment for Branigan’s class, and the week I declared that major was the week we got our graded assignments handed back to us. I did well, but Branigan still had written ‘see me’ at the bottom. I stayed after to talk to him, thinking I messed something up, but instead he met me with kind words. He told me I was a great writer, that I should continue to pursue it in any way I could in the future. I’d never been told to stay after class for a compliment before, and this, plus the fact that it lined up perfectly with my second thoughts about my writing major, shocked me in the best way. I may have cried.

Branigan took time out of his day to talk to me about something beyond his classroom — beyond his field of study in general — and I won’t forget that.

If you could build a school, what would it look like?

In my school, all the rooms would have huge, clear windows to let in natural light, the desks would be set up in circles to facilitate discussions and there would be no stairs, because I don’t like to climb them.

What do you wish I would ask you so that I can be a good teacher for you?

Ask me to participate. MAKE ME PARTICIPATE. I may not participate otherwise, even if I really want to.

What makes a weekend day great for you?

If I get a chance to relax and read a non-required reading book, I’ll be happy.

Anything else to add?

I am very stoked about this class. Also, I have a tattoo on my arm that says ‘I am, I am, I am.’ I’m mentioning this because I titled this post with the same quote, and I want everyone to know that I’m clever.

Finally, include a photo of yourself in your Medium post so I can start putting faces to names.

Here is a dramatic, filtered selfie. Feel free to like it on Instagram (@annastoryofmylife).
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