The Last Lecture by Luisa Nitzschke (March 19, 2015)
Think of your favorite professors. Imagine sitting in one of their last lectures. What would they say? What valuable advice could they give you about life, college and failing?
This week: Megan Quigley, Assistant Professor of English Literature
1. What is the one thing you would want to convey most?
Go Read. Go read anything you can get your hands on. Put your cell phones down and read a book. Read editorials you disagree with and novels written in a style that seems strange. Personally, I believe the studies that say that reading builds empathy. Go out there and read.
2. What is the best academic advice you would have for your students?
1) Take classes for the professor and not for the subject matter; and 2) don’t drink the punch. Those were the two pieces of advice my oldest brother gave me and I still think they are pretty good!
3. What is your stance on failing to achieve a desired outcome?
That sounds like business-speak to me. What is a ‘desired outcome’ exactly? How do you know you’ve failed to achieve it? Also, always have three pots on the stove (three applications for jobs, three plans for the summer, three friends you’d like to see today, three people you have your eye on). One will work out if you make sure you have three.
4. What is your favorite inspirational quotation?
“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” (Samuel Beckett).
5. What is your favorite subject to teach?
Twentieth-century British and Irish literary modernism: writers such as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. Fiction and poetry. Today five of my students I’ve had in class before taught sections of The Waste Land to the rest of the class. Hearing their insightful comments as they lead their classmates through a tricky & powerful post-war poem was wonderful—cementing why teaching literature matters.