Whatever Inspires Us Influences How We Impact The World
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Whatever Inspires Us Influences How We Impact The World So Go Out There And Find Your Passions

Catherine Hoffman's wise words will leave you ready to become a role model

Whatever Inspires Us Influences How We Impact The World So Go Out There And Find Your Passions
"Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window."
-William Faulkner

This last week, I was privileged enough to sit down with San Diego State's Catherine Hoffman, a professor in the Rhetoric and Writing Department and known personality. We struck up a conversation about inspiration, and what the grit of the ideology really means.

Professor Hoffman tells me that she found inspiration from both her parents, but for various different reasons. Her father, an award-winning scientist, teacher and administrator with a long list of accomplishments, held a high passion for teaching. What set him apart, however, was the ability to encourage and challenge simultaneously, both inside and outside the classroom. Hoffman remarks that he was able to build and cultivate programs as an administrator, serving as a testament to his management skills and just personality. A truly timeless intellectual, he always remained humble and up-to-date.

Her mother, in Professor Hoffman's words, was the, "true" intellectual. The woman who raised her stressed the true importance of reading, gifted in part due to her fantastic vocabulary. She taught Professor Hoffman to discriminate against what she read, and most importantly how to personally stimulate herself. In a simple sense, through the means of text, her mother taught her how to practice intentionality in everything she does.

As a student of Professor Hoffman, I can personally say that her teaching reflects an image of those she draws inspiration from. When asked, "If you could have the youth practice one thing, what would it be?" she responds with a simple, immediate answer.


Today, Professor Hoffman continues to relate back to her father and mother's lessons of intentionality and personal stimulation. She advises the youth to not look for validation through other people or other things. She wishes that this generation can grow up strong in themselves, never letting other people sway their decisions and thoughts. This is no easy task, however, and takes a "slight resistance" in order to find a level of self-balance. There needs to be a greater emphasis on self-care, and people in positions of influence should never censor a young person's art.

As our conversation flowed along, I was curious to know what actually makes teaching so valuable. Professor Hoffman recalled a dream where she was telling Kim Kardashian to go to college because she was so excited to go into work in the mornings. Funny anecdotes aside, she really believes that teaching is the most rewarding career. She told me "teaching isn't just sharing," and that really stuck with me. Teaching is an exchange of ideas in which both parties receive new knowledge and consequently growth. It may help that Professor Hoffman is her own worst critic, but because she is a professional writer who reads frequently, it comes full circle that she is able to give that thirst for knowledge back to society.

So, how does one internalize the inspiration they receive from the outside world? How can we translate the impact others have on us, to recycle it and return it back into the world? Professor Hoffman thinks, in the simplest essence, you must value to know things. Whether it be valuing social skills or other disciplines, you must realize that to truly be a critical thinker you must subordinate yourself to experts. When you pull this inspiration from your environment, you must use it to become a "striver". Life is all about using whatever lights your fire to find your niche, and once it is found, just nurture it.

Though not all of us feel called to teach, there is a certain power in the career unparalleled by any other. Professor Hoffman shares her sources of inspiration and how they connect to her current stances on life. And maybe, if we are lucky, we can be half as inspiring to the world, as a select few have been to us.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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