At semester’s end, students in my classes give a short in-class presentation expressing their expectations at the outset of the course, how those expectations changed, what they found to be the most worthwhile learning moments in the course, and some closing thoughts. Here are just a few of those remarks.

I thank you so very much.


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End of Spring 2017 Semester Presentation

It’s a pleasure to be with you this evening. I’m Sean Washington, your friendly neighborhood black guy.

Tonight, I’m going to serve all of you a 3 course meal on Jack’s class on Interpersonal Communications.

As an appetizer, you’re going to receive my aromatic expectations for the class, students, and instructor before the semester started as well as what changed after my exposure to those 3 factors.

Next, for the main course, I’ve selected 3 delicious skills we’ve learned together this semester to share with you and why I value them.

And for dessert, I will place before you some savory parting words and conclude with a profound quote that hits me right in the feels.

If you’re ready . . . Bon Appetit.

It’s November 2016 and time to register for the 2017 spring semester. I was advised to take Jack’s class by a previous student so I anticipated learning about the true meaning of love and presenting my thoughts on the subject with the class. I expected to be taught to identify toxic people, how to avoid them, and how to remove them from my life. When it came to the students, I assumed they would be like the students in my other classes; intelligent yet indifferent and view the class as another obstacle to achieving their goal of transferring to a university. Jack on the other hand, had high expectations to live up to. I expected to be dazzled and enthralled with content and delivery.

After my exposure to the course, I had no idea that I’d be given a manual on the best way to speak and conduct myself when dealing with any human being I encounter. Jack’s material and means of distribution has no substitute and should be viewed as a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can genuinely say that the students in this class have exceeded my expectations in various ways. You’ve displayed feeling, involvement, and joy in learning the concepts. It has been a pleasure to learn among you. Jack or Sir as I like to call him is one of a kind. Jack is an Interpersonal Communications BEAST! He is one of the few people let alone professors that have had a lasting impact on my life for the best.

A fluffy golden brown baked potato topped with fresh butter, chives and shredded cheese paired with caramelized Brussels’ sprouts drizzled with a garlic and balsamic vinegar reduction to compliment a mouth watering, aged to perfection, Japanese Wagu filet. That tasty trio just described is to me the lessons on identity, responsive listening, and conflict management. Understanding the multiple layers of our identity is vital for personal growth. It is with the understanding of who you are that allows you to steer and determine your future. The identity presentation assignment gave me an opportunity to realize who I am and strengthen my resolve to reach my peak potential. I enjoyed every moment of being taken to “school” with regards to responsive listening. From the “Jack up Questions”, to the reasons we don’t listen effectively, finishing with the listening exercise, I won’t ever forget the impact of choosing to listen properly to others. The frustration, the lack of enthusiasm, the anger I felt is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy from a failure of being listened to. The meat of the skills learned together was conflict management. It is the amalgamation of Assertiveness, Perception Checking, Mindfulness, Emotions and Responsive Listening. This one strategy, when utilized practically can end or prevent wars from occurring and on a scale closer to home can bring individual relationships closer together.

Fresh out of the oven are double chocolate chip and white macadamia nut cookies. In between is hand scooped French vanilla ice cream. As simple and sweet as the ice cream sandwich I just described is are my parting words for the class. Y’ALL ARE SOME MUTHA-FUCKAS! And I mean that in the sense that I never would’ve thought it would be such a pleasure to come to a class on Wednesday nights. You guys are THEE shit and made learning fun. I can only wish to encounter another beautiful collage of people such as you. You guys are going to change the world and I can’t wait to experience it.

My Quote for the class by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross:

The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.

Never give up. Reach for the stars!

My concluding words to my friends to live by each day:

Speak thoughtfully, love intensely.

THANK YOU,

~ Sean Washington


When I was getting ready to leave for college, my friend’s mom, who I had become really close to and looked up to, told me that I was going to bloom wherever I’m planted. I’ve carried that with me through this first year of college and it’s really been there for me when I think things aren’t going right, or I’m not where I’m supposed to be. I’m a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. This class constantly reminds me of that, but it’s also been a reminder that we do have control over our own lives.

I’m Britt Saare, and I originally joined this class because it was suggested to me by Jocelyn. Based on what she told me, I expected this class to be pretty life changing. I figured Jack would be an influential professor, and that I could learn a lot from [him] about how I should live my life. And that did happen. I took away a lot from this class, but mostly I took away a new perspective.

One of our first lectures was actually about perspective, and knowledge base. We were taught that our knowledge base filters our experiences to fit our point of view- like how you might notice the way the light glistens off the water but your friend is watching the birds flying above your heads. I always thought that was interesting, that people could be in the exact same situation but take away two completely different things from it.

The second thing I learned is that your life is what you make of it. We were told to never answer “good” or “okay” or “fine” when we’re asked how we’re doing. I try to apply that beyond just signing in at the beginning of class, because I do think that our attitude is everything. I didn’t realize the importance of that until Jack made us practice it.

The last thing, and probably the thing that’s stuck with me most was this: I joined this class late, and on my first day Jack said something that hit me really hard. “If you have to win, your partner has to lose.” He’s said it multiple times now, but that first day, I really needed to hear it. I had been in an ongoing fight with someone really important to me, and when I met up with him later that day, I repeated that quote back to him. It’s become something that we remind each other of a lot and it keeps me grounded when I let my temper cloud my judgement, which is a lot.

So with that, I want to thank you, Jack, for changing my way of thinking. And I hope that even after I leave this class, I keep the outlook I gained here. To leave you guys with some parting words, I just want to share again with you the words that I live by. And I think it ties into what Jack has been drilling in our heads all semester about how we’re in control of our own success and happiness.

Bloom where you are planted.

~ Britt Saare


Yo, I’m Vivi.

I fucking love honesty. And I’ve found that growing up means becoming honest. About what I want. What I need. What I feel. Who I am. Who I am might not be perfect for others, but it is for me right now; Perfection is perception anyhow. And recently, I’ve finally learned to accept that. I’ve been going through a lot of shit in my life, and this mind-set began slowing slipping. But, by being in this class –meaning meeting all of you and Jack, and the learning what we had – I was somehow able to save it.

Today, I am going to tell you how this class impacted me. These experiences will regard lecture, office hours, my personal life, my likes with each experience, as well as an ‘expectation vs reality’ of this class.

Recently, I’ve been trying to become someone who doesn’t walk into things expecting a certain result. In Middle & High school, I expected everyone to be positive and accepting. And when it all turned to shit, when the bullies came out, I nearly lost myself in that sea of ‘universally perfect’ assholes. From those experiences though, I’ve now learned how to accept the circumstances and mold them into what I want, rather than expect them to be that way automatically. Jack’s story times helped me capture this concept in a different light.

Jack said a great life is a choice, so don’t waste time doing nothing, worrying over what others will think or what could be. Accept your circumstances and make something of them. If you stay caught up on what’s behind you, and you will miss all the great shit right in front you. Lemme tell you, all those ‘perfect’ people are too far behind now to even catch up with me.

As for this class, I really enjoyed it, primarily because of your guys’ and Jack’s commentary. I could be having the worst day, but this class always seemed to plaster a big smile on my face. Here, I am genuinely happy and myself, which usually means I’m that weird girl laughing at almost everything.

From lecture, I took away that honesty is great, and you shouldn’t hold back on your opinions. Before, I’d refrain from speaking, always fearing what others would think of me. Now, I don’t shut up, and always say what I want. I don’t sugarcoat shit, I’m not Willy Wonka or the Candy Man. Unless you’re either of those two, you shouldn’t either.

One thing I want to note, before I hit my final point, is Jack – your enthusiasm is really appreciated. I can’t stand it when I walk into a lecture and the teacher looks like Frankenstein trying to resurrect a class of zombies.

So I say to all of you, disregard the money, the criticism and the material shit, and focus on what you want for yourself. Jack and I spoke about this in and outside office hours a few times, because I saw him literally everywhere. Just do what you love and love what you do. Whatever you end up doing, just make sure you do it for yourself. No one is worth more than yourself. Live for yourself, be yourself, feel what you want and do what you want.

For almost four years, I experienced major situational depression. I still sometimes do, ‘cause you know depression is hard to let go of. Because my parents didn’t believe I was depressed, I kept all that bottled within me, trying to hide it by being someone I wasn’t. I nearly killed myself all the time, over bullies, over family, over self-doubt. But I’m really happy I experienced it. Jack told me it’s better to experience the good and the bad; it all changes you. I’m now the real, crazy me, and I was able come here with my own help, no one else’s.

No matter where you go in life, and no matter how much you complain, people will either love or hate you and time won’t reverse for shit. Love what you have, prioritize yourself because you’ve only got yourself, and be confident even when you feel ugly as shit.

This closing quote is kind of all over, but it is in honor of a great friend who unfortunately passed away Tuesday night after class. He was always taking about being honest with yourself, because only then you can truly find yourself and live life to the fullest. The takeaway is:

Be yourself and live for yourself, no matter what. Life is too short to worry about anything but you. Sometimes, people only rain on your parade because they’re too jealous of your sun and tired of their shade. Fuck being perfect. People should be allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously. I think being and loving yourself is the prettiest thing a person can be.

~ Vivianna Cornejo


“I’m smart, you’re dumb; I’m big, you’re little; I’m right, you’re wrong, and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

That’s a quote from DeVito’s 1996 film, Matilda, and it’s how I thought arguments worked up until I took Essentials of Argumentation with Jack Mierop.

My name is Summer, and I am a first year Cinematography and Public Relations major. Growing up, I excelled in mathematics, science, and history, but I always have had this natural talent for the arts and writing. Now getting my work of art from paper to speech was a different story. My father taught me to speak clearly and to project my voice, but standing in front of a crowd and presenting in any way was definitely not my forte. Here’s my story on how I came to be in Jack’s class, how it changed my perspective, and what this class had taught me along the way to finishing off my first year at college.

As a student preparing for a future that heavily relies on first impressions and networking, I figured taking a public speaking class my first semester would help me work on my stage fright. At semester’s end, my professor recommended Essentials of Argumentation. I came across stellar reviews when I searched Jack Mierop on ratemyprofessor.com. I decided to enroll in the course. I was ready to argue for hours, slamming my fists on tables, proving people wrong– kind of like Atticus from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird… Boy, was I wrong.

He was different from any kind of professor I have ever had. Jack didn’t see his passion in communication as something he only teaches; it is his way of life. That man lives his life the way I was always afraid to. He taught me to not beat my self up if I wanted to turn off the world for a few hours and just lay in bed, but to also give 110% and make the most of the rest of my day. I confess, I was the student to always skip class because I wanted to nap and I figured I could pass the test anyways. It was his passion that made me tell myself, “Get up, Summer. It’s only an hour and his lectures always make you feel better.” In the end, I attended Jack’s class more than any of my other classes.

In his class I learned an entirely different side to argumentation than what I once thought. I learned that argumentation is not a fight against someone else; it’s a presentation of you standing up for what you believe in and why. The purpose is not to condemn your opponent, but to bring light to what you have to say. The purpose is to make a change for the better, for you, the audience, and your opponent.

I also found importance in paying attention to the arguments others make. Truth is relative only to what they present you with, and it is the listener’s duty to fully process it and contemplate how it would apply to all aspects of life. Lastly, I found out that the most important piece to argumentation is to know yourself. Understand how you feel about the topic and why.

In argumentation, if you are to introduce an argument, it is your burden to defend it, and if you know how you feel about it then you can better defend it. I noticed how crucial this was during a class debate of alcohol v. marijuana. Each student was assigned to defend one or the other, present their case, and then sit through open interrogation by fellow classmates. Too many times was the question asked, “Do you personally, really, prefer alcohol/weed?” and too many times did the student confess that they preferred the latter. As an audience member, I found myself to doubting my presenter. They have just listed all these reasons through research, and in the end they are unconvinced, why should I be? However, their opinion is their opinion. A better way to go about revealing a personal stance as a presenter defending the opposite side, would be to restate that alcohol or weed is better in terms they have already discussed, but in other conditions and terms, they fancy the other.

In all, I think this class has left me a new person, tending to my responsibilities, listening more, and respecting others. With that I would like to leave you with words from Rudyard Kipling and Michael Bassey Johnson. First, to truly listen to your neighbor, you must first stop thinking that “all nice people, like us, are we,” and everyone else is an “utterly ignorant they”. Second, to speak with wisdom, you must first enjoy the silence, because “when the mouth is closed, the mind is open.”

Only then can you stand behind what you say.

~ Summer


For as long as I can remember I have spent my summers in Egypt. On these trips, I have seen things that most would not believe. From the endless Sahara Desert and the timeless pyramids of Giza, to the tall apartment buildings and the bright blue Mediterranean Sea. However, it was not a historical monument or an eccentric restaurant that engraved itself into my heart and mind forever. One very hot day, I took a trip to rural Cairo. As I walked on the crowded dirt roads I saw a boy who must have been six or seven years old. From a distance, he looked as if he were crouched in the sand, digging through a pile of trash. As I approached him, I saw that he was, in fact, not bent over, but his body consisted of nothing but his head, neck, arms, and torso; everything from the hip down had been amputated. When asked what he was looking for, Ali as I found his name to be, smiled up at me with his big, sunken, and yet twinkling brown eyes and said, “I am looking for dinner for my sister and me.”

Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, my name is Farida Naeem. For some if not most of you, this may be the very last time you hear me give another speech about my poor spelling and/or strange life experiences. Unfortunate, I know.

In this final speech I will discuss my previous expectations of the class and how they have changed, some things I have learned that have made an impact on my life, a summary of my persuasive speech, and some parting words.

I like to compare my first year of college to a relationship. First semester was the honeymoon phase. It was fun, new, and exciting. My relationship was perfect, happy as can be. All A’s, no problems, and I expected nothing less for spring semester and the following years. I came to the harsh realization that this relationship was not going to be all rainbows and butterflies probably two days into second semester.

My initial thoughts at the start of this class were “where the hell is the computer science building?” and then after finally finding it, “damn I am going to be late to this class an unnecessary amount of times.”. As I sat in your class that first Tuesday morning I hoped that things would be smooth sailing just like first semester. Boy was I wrong.

I like to think of myself as a well-spoken, outgoing individual. So naturally I assumed that the “theory and practice of human communications” as your syllabus described it, was going to be easy. I already know how to talk to people. What could this man possibly teach me that I already do not know. How would this class be any different than just another GE requirement?

However, after just a few classes my initial expectations significantly changed. Like a relationship, I was taken out of my comfort zone. I was forced to see things in a totally new perspective, even if it was completely and totally different from my own. I learned about interpersonal skills that I didn’t even know existed. Whether it was listening, relationships, or conflict my ways of communicating for years was put into question and created the insane mind fuck that was a direct result of this class.

This class was filled with realizations for me. I think on multiple occasions when Jack would lecture about a certain skill or behavior, I would catch myself thinking “holy shit I do that all the time”. One of the things that really resonated with me were the identity speeches. For myself, having to identify the elements of my own self-concept and looking at both the positive and negative reflected appraisals that comprise my personality, was both enlightening and scary. I always had a pretty good idea of who I was but never once did I ask myself why. However, nothing compared to hearing everybody else’s speeches. I can’t remember the last time I was in a class where I could look around the room and tell you everybody’s name and something about them. Shit I don’t even know a single person’s name in my math class, besides my professor’s. I’m not going to lie, I’m not one to get emotional or really even care for sentiments, but hearing you all share such personal details of your life had me on the verge of tears multiple times and this is coming from someone who didn’t shed a tear when Marley died in “Marley and Me” or “The Notebook”. Another skill that I have really applied in my everyday life is perception checking. I never noticed how crucial this is to communication. Giving an objective description of the person’s behavior, and then providing an interpretation of it, but not just any opinion, a positive one that would really make all the difference in a conversation. To not sympathize with others but empathize, to see things from their point of view not mine. Treating other’s the way they, not I, want to be treated.

Another fun assignment we had to do on our journey through HCOM were the persuasive speeches.

In my speech, I argued for the legalization of the sale of human organs. Organ shortage is currently a pressing issue all over the world. The demand for organ transplantation has rapidly increased all over the world during the past decade due to an increase in organ failure, and the rising success of the transplants that are performed. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing’s database, as of today, at this very moment, there are about 121,993 people in need of a lifesaving organ transplant in the United States alone. Every ten minutes someone is added to that list. On average, about twenty-two people die each day while waiting for a transplant. Despite advances in medicine, technology, and increased awareness of organ donation, only about 2,553 organ transplants have been performed so far in 2016. This unfortunately is also the very fuel of the black market trade of illegally obtained organs in ways you cannot even imagine. The gap between supply and demand continues to widen, and will continue to do so if a more sufficient solution is not applied. No human being should be subjected to wait desperately for the anecdote to their illness alongside a long list of others. To spend endless days and sometimes years hooked up to a machine, unable to live a normal life, waiting to receive the notification that it is finally their turn to receive a transplant, or to die waiting. This in a world with such extreme medical and technological advances is unacceptable. The sole solution of relying on donor transplants does not even remotely cover the constantly lengthening waiting list, leaving many in a hopeless situation. Every individual has their own set of organs that is their bodily property that they are entitled to do whatever they want with. We are given the right to sell blood, sperm, and eggs and the same should go for organs. It is time to end the wait for thousands, and give them the right to live a healthy life.

So some of you may be wondering whatever haven’t happened to Ali? Truth is I have no idea.

Everyday, I encounter instances that remind me of him. As I eat three healthy meals a day, I sleep in a bed with a roof over my head, and add clothes to my already overflowing closet; I bathe with warm running water, and visit a doctor for a routine checkup, all things that I have been blessed with, Ali has been denied. The encounter I had with that magnetic child consisted only of a few minutes, but the lesson he taught me will last a lifetime. The mere look of pure innocence in his eyes, and his ability to find happiness in the darkest moment is something I attempt to do on a regular basis. Putting life’s bullshit into perspective and realizing that there are worse things in than a bad grade on a math test. When you let go of being right and reach for more understanding of the world, you begin to flow with the universe. We are not right or wrong, we are conscious and it is making the decision to enjoy or battle that.

Thank you, it’s been a true pleasure getting to know each and every one of you.

~ Farida


Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves. This is the heart of clarity.

Jack has repeated himself to us time and again this semester to actively seek the truth and to question everything. Without questioning there is no wisdom. Without wisdom there is no growth. Our elemental nature is to connect with others. Therefore, we must utilize this gift to its fullest extent to better access a fundamental aspect in ourselves.

This is a paramount exhortation that I fully intend on implementing this moment and going forward. Lessons such as this have been spilling into our ears the moment our professor introduced himself to us.

Prior to attending Jack’s class, I engaged in researching the various professors I was able to choose from at my new college. In reviewing the spew of positive feedback from former students, I was convinced Jack was an educator that could guide me through my course at a reasonable standard. He undoubtedly shocked me when I was first introduced to him.

My typical forethought before beginning a new class usually consists of the wonderment of if I may meet a close friend or even future husband. This is simply because I tend to wander through my imagination vigorously. In saying that, I discovered that I came upon a wonderful opportunity.

This past summer I became very in touch with my spiritual side. Not in the religious sense, but in a sense of deeper knowing. And when jack engaged us in conversations about these various self-reflecting topics, I found myself completely engrossed.

It’s difficult to put finite stamps on what Jack has taught me in this course, besides the necessary education, because what he has illuminated to me is that there is always so much more to discover. This universe is an everlasting expanse of ideas, creation, manifestation, truth, fiction, hate, love, lies, pain, and hope. The journey is never-ending. So although I may have points docked from my grade for not listing some concrete examples to you all, I’d prefer to sacrifice that to instead remind you all to keep exploring everything. Yourself, the world, other people, ideas, feelings, and so on.

Your life is a grand journey of mountains and valleys. Drink it all in. Relish the amazing and educate yourself from your scars. Everything you have experienced or are destined to experience is who you are or will become you. My life motto is “Everything that happens to you is the best possible thing that can happen to you.” – (“Zen and the Art of Happiness” by Chris Prentiss)

This is what I live by because of my aforementioned reasoning. I hope my words have inspired some of you. With that being said, I’d like to end my presentation with another quote.

Find the inferno of your soul and don’t be afraid. The fire will not burn you, it will burn what you are not.

~ Savannah Moreau


As I was signing up for classes back over the summer, I remember coming across a specific time frame, for this specific class I wanted to take, with a specific professor’s name listed. That professor, yes, you guessed it, would be none other than Jack himself. I did what any other worried college student would do and immediately whipped out “Rate my Professor” and searched his name.

I was bombarded with positive rate after positive rate. Each comment elaborating on why they gave Jack such a high rating, whether it was his uncensored lectures, the extensive amounts of life wisdom tucked under his belt, or just the plain fact that he was an overall rad dude. Either way, I was excited to embark on this journey in his class.

I will thank Jack for opening my eyes to certain subjects and challenging myself to think. Although our views differ in some, if not most areas, I was still intrigued to hear every sarcastic and witty comment that came out of his mouth. It was always entertaining. In the beginning of the semester I was always a little skeptical, wanting to make my own sort of rate my professor-esque conclusion about Jack. Reflecting back on how the class evolved and transformed, how Jack evolved and transformed as a professor in my eyes, and how I evolved and transformed I see that change happens in even such a small time frame.

From the first day that I sat in that black chair that always leaned back a little too far, to my slight irritation, to the last day that I am now sitting here in front of the people who walked in with me that excruciatingly hot post-summer school day; I hope that we have all now made our own interpretations of Jack. Knowing we all searched him up and had some preconceived god-like notion, we have all now come to some sort of conclusion in some way or another. Some still may view Jack as a god-like, all-knowing human being, and some may think he is ultimately full of bullshit (sorry Jack). But what is so cool to me is that, that is okay. It is okay to be your own individual, to come to your own conclusions, and to also change those conclusions at times. We are all individually transforming and growing at our own paces, absorbing and interpreting information in differing ways.

A quote by Kristi Bowman reads,

The key to ultimate happiness and fulfillment lies within our own transformation. The more we learn and grow and evolve as individuals, the more we will find happiness and satisfaction in relationships, work, and life.

So do not be afraid to learn, do not be afraid to challenge your ideas or the ideas of others. Growth is constant and should be self accepted. I feel that Jack challenged me to learn, not in a “here’s a powerpoint presentation” bullshit type of way, but a way that made me think and grow. Think about my own personal views and think about how I wanted to live my life and what kind of an individual I wanted to be in this world.

I hope everybody thought out and came to their own conclusions about themselves, their ideas, and even their view of Jack. Just like rate my professor, we can be thrown these opinions and ideas of others and we can chose to accept them, or we can go out and experience them for ourselves, coming to our own conclusions. Regardless, translate whatever it may be into your life, question, learn, grow, and most importantly change. Remaining stagnant in thought will not encourage transformation of any sort.
This short semester will not be forgotten, nor will Mr. Jack Mierop or the people that sit beside me. For this was a time of learning and growth and transformation. I feel thankful to have had a professor that encouraged this.

Thank you.

~ Jaselle Monzon