Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Time at Bonaventure as a History Major (Colin O'Donnell)

My first day at Saint Bonaventure University was memorable to say the least. It was ‘Spring Into Bonas’ in the spring of 2009, and, as a future History major, I sat down in a classroom for a brief orientation. Dr. Joel Horowitz spent a brief twenty minutes discussing the history of the entire world. It was an informal lecture but very much informative. I answered my first question at Saint Bonaventure incorrectly and thus, off to a great start.
            Almost four years later, I remember that day in that classroom, and how it mirrored days to come. I could talk to Dr. Horowitz like a friend, and he never hesitated when it came to answering a question that I, or any other student, had. I soon discovered that just about every other History professor was exactly like that. Their interpersonal tact, and the way they drove us to ask questions, all of it made me realize not why the world and its people are here, but how we got here.
            Every class session with every instructor seemed to be a two way street. Not only were we learning factual information about everything that came before, but that we had opinions about it. My classrooms were always filled with discussion, shared outlooks on a specific part of history, and the encouraging cultivation that came from my professors. My insatiable desire to understand how the world used to be was being cured by my professors. That’s exactly what they are: my professors.
            One thing in particular that one of my professors did to make my pursuit of a Bachelors Degree in History all the more desirable was let me pick my final research topic. Dr. Maddalena Marinari offered to let me explore a popular topic of World War II history all on my own instead of the stricter, straight, and narrow approach of other schools at Saint Bonaventure. What followed was the most time and effort I ever put in a project. The end product was a presentation on Dr. Seuss that could not have achieved its potential without Dr. Marinari challenging me to go deeper into a topic
It never once occurred to me that when I attended college that I would feel like a part of my major or my field. Now, between any given class period, you can hear a handful of the same students talking about history, how they felt, why they feel that way, and maybe someday what they are going to do about it. This is what a student gets in Saint Bonaventure University’s History program, and that student will never look back.

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