I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. To think that I heard of the news from a friend’s Facebook status. It truly sucks to be so far away…
I know how people say 人老病死, death is a natural thing when you’re old, but I couldn’t believe that Prof. Goodman was gone. I never got to say goodbye before I left USA because he was in Tokyo. His last words to me was just an email to say he wouldn’t be able to meet me because he was in Tokyo. My only hope now is that he enjoyed the cookies I left as a thank you gift.
Prof. Goodman was a teacher I looked up to and someone I could never thank enough. He was a wise and patient man. I remembered the time when I went to tell him I was having problems understanding the material for EALC464. Although I never said it, I was toying with the idea of dropping the class in my mind. I am glad I didn’t drop the class in the end for I wouldn’t have learnt perseverance. He assured me that even though other students seemed to be speaking up in class a lot, like me, they were probably having trouble with the material too. He encouraged me to ask questions no matter how stupid I thought they were because someone else in the room was probably thinking the same and did not dare ask it. So, by speaking up, I was actually helping my classmates too.
His class was definitely not an easy class. He did not have slides to copy notes from and his handouts were minimal. You made your own notes as the class discussed the text. I bet most students (especially Singaporean students) would have complained, but hey, it is a senior level class and his class emphasized on actual learning and not spoon-feeding. It was definitely for own good.
I admit I’m not someone who is full of ideas or particularly good in any area. My good grades come from perseverance and a willingness to learn. I went to Prof. Goodman about my final paper topic. Together we explored possible topics and finally he mentioned about combining my major with the class for a topic to write on. I finally settled on writing a paper about poster advertisements for Japanese theater. My hard work eventually paid off and I earned an A for the class. To think that months ago I was on the brink of dropping the class. I couldn’t thank Prof. Goodman enough for his patience and encouragement.
The next time I needed his help was to write me a letter of recommendation for AAF’s Most Promising Minority award. Although I will never know the contents of the letter or whether it even helped me get the award, I am still grateful that he wrote that letter for me. No matter what, it probably said good things about me that I don’t think I even am.
Prof. Goodman, who would have known that you’ll be gone so soon? I was still thinking that some day we would meet again maybe in Japan or even USA so I can say the thank you and goodbye I never said in person when I graduated. However, I believe that you left with no regrets for you knew your students had learnt well and they would go out into the world to do great things.
Lastly, thank you and goodbye. I will miss you.