He’s got a way with words Web Director | August 7, 2017

Michael Richardson ’17, of Dover Foxcroft, graduated from Thomas College in May. While at TC, he studied Psychology and English – and even was able to help teach courses to other college students.

Now, Michael is enrolled for his Master’s in English at the University of Vermont, where he has been chosen as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the next two years.

We caught up with Michael to see how he got where he is today.


Q: What did you like about Thomas College?

A: More than anything, the close relationships I was able to build with my professors is, in large part, what made my time at Thomas so enriching.

Q: How did Thomas help you succeed?

A: Similarly to my last answer, I think Thomas allotted me a great deal of one-on-one time with experienced professionals who cared about my success–I wouldn’t be nearly as well off as I am, academically or professionally speaking, if it wasn’t for all the wonderful professors I had the opportunity to learn from and work with during my time at Thomas.

Q: What is your dream job?

A: In a perfect world, I’ll be a moderately-well-selling novelist and a professor at an esteemed institution.

Q:  What do you like to write about?

A: I prefer to write either creative non-fiction or realistic fiction. My literary focus is on the real world, on real life, so when I write, that’s also what I like to write about: reality.

Q: Was there a specific professor who you really connected with or helped you? If yes, how did they make an impact on you?

A: There were many, but if a couple had to be singled out, they would have to be Dr. and Reverend Lepley.

The Lepley’s had such an effect on me simply because they paid such genuine attention to my success for my entire career there. From Doug initiating the invention of a more difficult seminar in English literature per my request, to Cindy and Doug using their free time to brainstorm and create a never-before-done internship for me because they knew I wanted to get some practice and experience on my way to become a professor, myself–these two are pure gems as humans and professors, and you would certainly be hard, hard-pressed to find folks who care more about the professions they chose or the people they work with.

Q: What was it like to teach your peers at Thomas College?

A: I team-taught Literature and Psychology with Dr. and Rev. Lepley. Overall, it was a very enriching process. I started my preparation about nine months early, read about 20,000 pages to map out my lessons, used the summer to plan every class that I was to teach for the whole semester, showed up in August and hit the ground running.

It was odd, teaching my peers, but I’m proud to say that I did fairly well, considering it was my first time in front of a class. More than anything, teaching that class just served to solidify my desire to continue in academia and become a professor.

Q: What do you like about studying psychology?

A: I like studying psychology because, from it, each time I study something new, I glean even further the overall picture of who we are as humans.

Q: What do you like about studying English?

A: A man named Mark Edmunson once wrote that English, primarily English literature, affords the reader an opportunity to answer the following two questions: 1) “What is life?” and 2) “How should I live it?”

I think if more people read regularly, if more people answered those questions for themselves more often, we might have a very different world than the one we live in now.

Q: What do you like about writing?

A: I think writing is an unrivaled method of self-exploration and expression–it’s like you’re putting a record of your consciousness on paper, marking dead trees with filtered brain power. It’s just a pretty cool concept, if you think of it outside normalized social constructs. Another reason is that I love the never-ending pursuit of perfection inherent. No piece will ever be perfect, but you can always edit it, revise it, add to it, in attempts to make it closer to perfection than it was before, and this process, to me, is invigorating.

Q: What attracts you to a career as a professor?

A: In short, I want to be a professor because I love reading, writing, and talking about literature. I approach teaching from the standpoint of answering the two aforementioned questions, and I think this tactic affords those involved heightened levels of in-class discussion, personal composition, and, overall, understanding life–I want to facilitate this heightened discussion, this elevated composition, and I hope that, in my doing so, I will be bolstering my students’ understanding of their own lives.