I came to the Italian department to repent for years of abusing grammar. I grew up speaking “Italian”, or a barely-passing, linguistic approximation assembled from the tumbling Roman phrasing and syncopated Sardinian dialect that I absorbed from my family abroad. More often than not, I’d make the stuff up: irreverently yoking together American stems and Italian-sounding endings to communicate my day-to-day necessities (“andiamo a rentare un film?”; anglicismo, as I so often saw written on my Italian papers). Without hesitation, the Italian faculty began exorcising me of my language-mangling demons.
In the meantime, they were gracious enough to allow me to attend their lectures, distract them with all sorts of nonsense during office hours, and, eventually, stand up in front of a class to teach beginning Italian students (for two years; I assure you, that takes faith). They let me join the Italian house, where my defining college experiences took place. There, I met my friends and always eager cronies in late-night tomfoolery. I got to live with two stupendous tutors, whose guidance and good humor allowed me to connect with my inner Italian when far from home.
I am immeasurably thankful to the professors for inviting me to participate these four years. They, in their generosity and kindheartedness, have made their mark.