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