Captain Kirk

Written by
Published on May 9, 2019

College was something my family spoke of in high regard. It was where the smart people went to succeed and where the dumb people sought to avoid. Growing up I feared college, as I felt unworthy and too dumb to go. But after a summer of video games and a part-time job, my mother sent me to college. The course was English 101 at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday.

It was during those time frames where I met Professor Kirk T. Hughes. He wore a blue blazer paired with a white collared shirt and funky tie. He was the opposite of what I thought a college professor was. Introducing himself as Captain Kirk was a kind hearted, passionate, energetic man who coached me into becoming a stronger writer. His teaching methods were unconventional but memorable. In English 101 he taught me MLA and three ways to shape a sentence. He told me it was important to “Dress your papers appropriately.” This way readers would not cast aside my work at a moment’s glance.

Housatonic’s very own Captain Kirk. Photo By Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

English 102 is where Captain Kirk taught me about love. At the time, I was a part of a bad relationship. The topic of the class was about love and what it truly meant to love someone. Each class session I found myself relating to the characters in the books and novels we read. The quotation searching in the Brokeback Mountain text made me realized my feelings were unrequited. In this Class Kirk taught me how to further improve my MLA skills, citing, and punctuation, but, most importantly, he made me realize the situation I was in and how to branch out of it.

Realizing and applying are two very different things. Public speaking is where Kirk taught how to distinguish between them. Being placed in uncomfortable elements was the theme of both the class and the semester. Being a naturally shy person did not help me as I spoke aloud to my fellow classmates. The pressure was not soothed by Kirk’s steadily hand recording my public speaking attempts either. I remember wondering what there was to gain from public speaking while performing the vowel dance, an embarrassing and dehumanizing dance routine performed at the start of each class. During the quote recitations was when I realized the purpose of the class. “Transformations just that abrupt do occur in this life.” Life is unpredictable and uncertain at times. The ability to express and explain my thoughts clearly made it easier to overcome moments of weakness.

That brings us to the day I write this, May 6, 2019, where I am paired with Professor Hughes in World Literature. He has assigned me many strenuous and tedious tasks, tasks like deciphering cave paintings and considering if they can be considered literature, reading ancient texts by Plato and Socrates, all while making sense of Foundational Texts like the Analects of Confucius. If I had to guess the theme of this current class, it would be becoming a deeper person. Being mindful of things other than yourself and your surroundings is hard, but Captain Kirk has shown me it is not impossible. I’d say he has taught me to be more reasonable and aware of those around me this semester.

Each lesson Captain Kirk has taught me has been an endeavour. They are skills and perspectives I would not trade for the world. The hardest part about each lesson taught would be realizing when the teaching is over. His classes were like a favorite book you would want to read over for the first time again. The final assignment he has given me is to never give up on myself. It’s hard and sometimes I almost fail. Yet, during those moments of weakness, my lessons learned grant me a graceful recovery.