One of the things I’ve learned, that I can’t stress enough, is the importance of a good role model. Someone who absolutely inspires you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a mentor (that’s something else entirely, which I’m sure I’ll get to in another entry), just someone you find admirable and kind of special. Someone who makes you want to be better and who makes you look at the world a little differently.
It just so happens that many of my role models have been my teachers. Obviously, this is no coincidence. The influence that teachers have on their students is really a remarkable thing and not something to be taken lightly.
One of my professors at Loyola was a woman named Eve Geroulis. She is probably, to this day, the coolest person I have ever met in my life. I’m prone to girl crushes, so I fully admit to having a huge girl crush on her. She was brilliant. Eve was this fiery little Greek woman who smoked like a chimney, cursed like a sailor and told us we could call her “Mama G.” I had her for International Marketing and Internet Marketing, which were both extremely interesting classes and two of my favorites throughout college. I was in awe of how smart she was. She was one of the first professors I had that really made me think. She motivated and challenged me every class I had her. Time seemed to fly by during every lecture. I knew, even then, that it really was an honor to be sitting in her classroom.
I think one of the many reasons I admired her so much was because she seemed to have it all, and to balance it all so well. She was the mother of four children, still happily married to someone she clearly loved and respected and she was hugely successful. She was a clinical professor at a university, had started up an internet company, had done exceptionally well in her past marketing jobs, was always traveling to the greatest places all over the world and overall, just seemed to enjoy her life. She was the perfect combination of strong and tender. Like I said, she was and is the coolest. Come to think of it, maybe I actually do know what I want to be when I grown up – I want to be Eve Geroulis.
At the end of my last semester of college, on the last day in Eve’s class, she stood at the door and hugged every single student that left her room. And that same day, we all received an email from her that said the following:
I leave you with my most beloved poem…a hymn to what awaits you all. Stay curious, happy and keep fighting the good fight.
My very best. Eve.
by C.P, Cavafy
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon-don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.