Back in college, I had some awesome Public Health professors. And with that study, we had to write alot of papers. Back in the day, the requirement was to complete 3 "L" courses. "L" courses, which stood for 'literature', consisted of authoring 25-page papers. The school set the requirement at 3 for all students. I completed 7 (seven). Yep...just wanted to make sure you read that correctly.
I loved to write. I was good at coming up with sentences and formulating my thoughts into words. As a young boy, I used to write story books for myself and cousins that marveled around mystery, heroism, and drama. I even wrote my own songs back in my "rocker" stage. But I loved to write and those "L" courses, were at times tough, but enjoyable.
My last year at school, I took on my senior project alone. The senior project was authoring a mock grant proposal for $300,000 and it was to be 50 pages long! My professor was a young man named Raffy Luquist and he was a studied Penn State grad with a knack for writing. My senior project was basically broken up into sections for the course semester and Raffy was good at critiquing.
Every week, Raffy would take his red pen and dissect my thoughts, and force me to convey them into a different manner. When I thought I "got" what he was saying, I went back...and he corrected my work again. We went back and forth week in and week out. He made me think as the "reader" and not as the "author". He made me think about the message I was writing and not the topic.
He would ask me, "what are you trying to say?"
And I pointed to my red penned sentence, and he would nod, "Yes, but what are you trying to say???"
I scratched my head many times in his class. And he spent alot of time with me, but he took a liking to my writing and really helped me polish my writing skills. At the end of that semester, not only did I graduate college, but I received an A+ on my senior project.
Raffy notified his senior class that he was leaving the college the following year to teach at his ala mater in Pennsylvania. He was a good mentor and when I write blog posts, articles, or projects--I always think of Raffy making corrections and challenging me to convey my message effectively.