I attribute much of my love for English literature to my 12th grade English teacher Missy Phelan.
I have always loved reading, as I have said numerous times on this blog. And while I have always had an appreciation for literature, I believe my affinity for medieval stories stems from my senior year of high school. Missy Phelan was a UCSB English major herself during her undergraduate career, and she made this known to me throughout the college application process but especially once I told her that UCSB was my decided school. She spoke so highly of her major and how much she loved her time here, and she did a wonderful job at getting me excited to go here.
It is fall quarter and I truly feel that my love for literature has come full circle, just as my education has. I am currently taking a medieval literature class, and naturally tonight is the night when I am reading The Canterbury Tales in yellow light of my bedroom, reminiscing on the time when I read it in Ms. Phelan’s class. I remember loving this story, and while I think I would have loved it no matter what, I had a deep appreciation for the text because of my teacher. Ms. Phelan did such an amazing job getting me to engage with the text and laugh at its innuendos and bantering characters. I love the stories now even more than I did then. And I owe much of that to her.
Ever since switching my major to English before my second year of college I have thought of Ms. Phelan and sent numerous thank-yous to her into the universe, hoping somehow she would know just how grateful I am to her. I believe that as readers and writers we are constantly changing, constantly growing, and constantly influenced by the world around us and the people in in. And Ms. Phelan truly and wholeheartedly helped shape my academic livelihood in more ways than I will ever be able to thank her for.
Tonight and every day, I am grateful for you, Ms. Phelan. I hope you are dancing in heaven and I hope you can tell Chaucer hello for me. Thank you for everything.