The highs and lows of my educational experience at Iona

Michael Coppola, Chief Copy Editor

I have had both positive and negative educational experiences at Iona that will forever stick with me for incredibly different reasons. Some courses I’ve taken during my four years here have left me as satisfied as Olivia Jade after miraculously getting a 1600 on her SAT. Others have made me groan with the existential dread of a thousand Billie Eilishes as I walked to class, knowing I was about to waste at least 52 minutes of my life sitting at a rock-hard desk gaining nothing of value.

Reflecting on the worth of my course history at this school, I’d like to first point out some positive highlights that showed me how fulfilling higher education can be when in the hands of a supportive, challenging and fully competent faculty.

My favorite course I’ve taken at Iona was a copyediting class taught by Dr. Mitchell Bard. Never before have I walked away from a course with more practical knowledge than this one. Starting off with the most basic lessons in grammar and punctuation and advancing to the art of fact-checking and layout design, I watched my writing skills improve from the beginning of the semester to the end. With his patient teaching style and consistent evaluations, Bard made me a far better writer and editor.

If you want to challenge yourself academically, emotionally and philosophically, there is no other course I’d recommend more than Memory and Reconciliation: The Churches and the Holocaust with Dr. Elena Procario-Foley. Traveling to Poland over spring break in 2017 and studying the Holocaust on the former ground of Auschwitz is an experience like no other offered at Iona. Wrestling with one of the world’s most sickening mass atrocities on location brought liberal arts education to a new depth.

Now as we all know, there is a yang to every yin, and some courses were just not worth the multi-thousand-dollar tuition I don’t pay.

I took a religious studies course my very first semester of college–back in 2015–that now seems like a funny dream I had that couldn’t possibly be real. While the professor kept referring to the syllabus throughout the semester, she failed to ever realize that she never provided a syllabus to begin with. In fact, she said we would write the syllabus together as a class, which we simply never did. Our “final exam” consisted of every student bringing in a body part to construct a collage of Jesus. I think the most valuable thing I took from this class was a great story to tell my friends.

The other course that stands out as something of a fever dream was a philosophy class that I took my second semester freshman year. What I remember the most about this class was having to write a 10-page paper on what Plato thought about art. I’ll tell you right now that Plato only thought maybe two things about art. I consider myself a skinny legend for somehow filling 10 pages about that, even if it did require the universal experience of crying in the second floor lounge of Loftus Hall to get it done.

Through the wonderful highs and epic lows, I can firmly say that I am happy with my educational experience at Iona overall. The faculty in my major departments of Mass Communications and Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology have prepared me to take on careers in either field. If only every one of their colleagues could be so great!