There is a tide…

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

Julius Caesar (4.3.218–21)

“Trust yourself, Nichole,” Dr. Womack encouraged me, “What do you think?”

As a college sophomore, in my first class with Dr. WomackShakespeare: The Later Plays, and I fell in love, with Shakespeare, with learning, and with being visible and valuable.

Then came Shakespeare: The Early Plays and Renaissance Literature. My time with Dr. Womack culminated with an independent study that focused on The Histories.

Each week, I sat in his office, with stacks of glorious books occupying every available surface, and lost myself in all that I was learning. His energy inspired me and his eyes sparkled in a way that told me that he saw something in me.

He spent hours listening to my ideas, encouraging me to stretch, to think bigger. He never let me rest, but encouraged me to dig deeper.

I had been so unsure of my abilities, but with his guidance, I came alive. He listened when I spoke, found value in what I offered, and pushed me to question my assumptions and to make further connections. Through his words and actions, he told me that I was intelligent and capable. And over time, I came to believe him.

It was during those precious semesters that I gained the self-confidence that I would need to change my life. If it hadn’t been for him, I wouldn’t have had the courage to leave the situation that nearly smothered me.

I will be forever grateful to Dr. Womack for his kindness, wisdom, and endless encouragement. To this day, when I question whether or not I should take on a new challenge, I can see his sparkling eyes, filled with encouragement.

Thank you, Dr. Womack. For everything.


You can learn a bit about how my life has changed by reading My full weight, Because of the other, and If my memory should ever fail me.

Thank you to everyone who comes here to read my words. My appreciation knows no bounds.


  1. Sherri

    We should all know what a powerful influence we can have on the lives of other people….such as the lasting imprint your professor has left on your life, Nichole. What an amazing tribute you've written!

    And so very wonderful to see you over at BlogHer again! And with this post you will help women make decisions. I just know you will. Your words are beautiful and powerful, my dear friend.

  2. Chloe,
    I read your post on Blogher today- it was great. I love that you are so open and honest. Your story really spoke to me.

  3. Sorry- I meant Chole…

  4. Congratulations!! Even your into to take me over to your BlogHer post is beautiful. I'm a huge fan, can't wait to read it.

  5. gigi

    Wow, your fourth BlogHer post? Amazing! They need to put you on staff!!!!

  6. tsonoda148

    Loved the story. Loved the tribute to your professor!

  7. Nichole

    I just popped over from BlogHer to say hello. Hello!

  8. Congrats!!! You're writing is always enjoyable to read. You pull me into the story with such ease. I always love your writings!!

  9. ksluiter

    This tribute brought tears to my eyes.

    For one? As teachers we rarely know what becomes of our students and what our impact has been…if any.

    Also? I am just starting to introduce Shakespeare to my 9th graders. They are learning about him for the first time. It's magical.

    And lastly? You have come so far. So very far. I am so proud of you.

  10. I had trouble logging in to comment, but wanted to let you know that you are one very brave woman. And I'm so glad you had someone to inspire you to keep moving forward.

  11. Megan Best of Fates

    Apparently I've forgotten my BlogHer password. But I'm so glad you had such an amazing professor and that he inspired you because you certainly inspire all of us.

  12. tooclosetogether

    I'm visiting from Blogher!

    What a great post! I'm so glad you had a professor like that! I feel forever indebted to an professor I had. He was brilliant and gave me the courage I needed to write! I love that other people got to experience that kind of encouragement as well!

  13. Melissa

    Amazing how someone can touch our life like that. I hope he knows what an inspiration he was to you. Going to sparkle up your post over there, love it and love all that you write :)

  14. Kir

    Whwn I read this. Yesterday I was thanking him too..because ur writing is a thrill of my day. Your words really paint a picture for me, and want to write. You have become the inspiration that was given to you. Paying it forward ;)

  15. Jen Has A Pen

    Of course, you know I'm already a fan. Thank heavens for Dr. Womack! :-) Heading to read your Blogher post now. :-)

  16. So beautiful. Teachers have the power to change shift and shape minds that will last a life time.
    Congrats on the syndication my friend

  17. C.Mom

    Stunning. as a teacher, your post and tribute makes all the tough days worthwhile. Congrats on another BlogHer day!

  18. kristen

    beautiful inside. beautiful outside. Someone else will get courage to do the same all because you share your story. So glad you are strong enough to have done this and tender enough to share it so eloquently.

  19. kris

    What a lovely tribute to your teacher. I love how you honor those who have helped to make you strong.

    Happy sighs.

    Congratulations on the BlogHer posting . . . that was an awesome post that deserved more readers.

    So much love for you.

    Off to BlogHer!

  20. KLZ

    We should all be so lucky as to have a teacher this glorious in our lives.

  21. sugarbowlmix

    Teachers can be such powerful influences in our lives. I always struggled with the language in Shakespeare. I remember reading Twelfth Night 3 different times throughout high school and vowing I would never take another English course where I would have to read Shakespeare! Congratulations on your BlogHer post.

  22. Stacey

    Congrats on the syndication! That is very cool!

    I had a Shakespeare course in college that had a profound affect on me as well. It's wonderful to have such a great teacher!

  23. Galit Breen

    Oh, sweet lady. Do we know each other well enough for me to say that I'm proud of you? Proud of your voice. Proud of you telling your story. Proud of your grace for thanking another for your accomplishments. I'll take you up on that cup of coffee, anytime, my new friend. Anytime. Congrats on this one. It couldn't be more well deserved!

  24. Devon F

    Congrats! What a great teacher. I have had teachers very similar throughout my schooling. We need more teachers like Dr. Womack. Now on to my homework. (thanks for the reminder)

  25. So powerful. What a wonderful teacher. It just goes to show that each of us truly has the power to make a difference in someone's life…

  26. @mamabegood

    I love those special people who are our mentors in life …

  27. Ilana

    Congrats on the Blogher post- I'll check it out now!

  28. Amy @ NTT

    I love this. I recently wrote about a professor who changed my academic life, too, so I can relate very well.

  29. Megan Best of Fates

    p.s. Did you know that Julius Caesar is my favorite of all Shakespeare's plays? It is.

    True, boring story.

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