Epigraph Essay

An epigraph is a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme. So far in our course, we have been shown a few different epigraphs. After examining each epigraph, I have found that I can relate to the one written by Percival Everet from I am Not Sidney Poitier the most. This epigraph states “Thank you,” I said. “I came back to this place to find something, to connect with something lost, to reunite, if not with my whole self, then with a piece of it. What I’ve discovered is that this thing is not here. In fact, it is nowhere. I have learned that my name is not my name. It seems you all know me and nothing could be further from the truth and yet you know me better than I know myself, perhaps better than I can know myself. My mother is buried not far from this auditorium, and there are no words on her headstone. As I glance out now, as I feel the weight of this trophy in my hands, as I stand like a specimen before these strangely strange faces, I know finally what should be written on that stone. It should say what mine will say: I AM NOT MYSELF TODAY.” This epigraph stood out to me because it talks about reconnecting with something you have lost. It reminded me that I need to reconnect with my education.

The first sentence of this epigraph talks about connecting with something lost and reuniting with your whole self. After reading this line I knew I wanted to dive deeper into this text because it reflects how I am feeling about school. My freshman year at Geneseo I came into college as a math major. After one semester I knew this was not the subject I am interested in studying for the rest of my life, but I decided to stick it out for one more semester. During my second semester, I found myself lost in my math courses. I was struggling with the material and gave up on learning. I felt lost and did not know if college was even the right choice for me. After giving it some thought, I decided that I was going to try and connect with a different subject. I chose English because I enjoyed my writing seminar and felt that I can express myself through writing. I think the line in the epigraph “I came back to this place to find something, to connect with something lost, to reunite, if not with my whole self, then with a piece of it” symbolizes this change in direction on my educational journey. The rest of the quote talks about how someone is “not themselves.” This is how I felt during my first year at Geneseo in the wrong major.

This epigraph reminds me that I need to set goals to keep my education on track. I hope to do that in this course. One goal I have in this course is not only to attend class but to also participate in class too. This class is easier to participate in because it is more discussion-based, and I feel that this fits my learning style better than a lecture. Another goal I have for this course is to ask for help when I need it. I know that help is available, and my goal is to accept the help that is offered by my professors. Another goal I have in this class is to be able to freely express myself in my writing. This epigraph talks about how someone is struggling to find themselves and that they feel a “weight”. In this course, I hope that I never feel a “weight” on myself and that I can find my voice through writing. I think personal expression is important in writing.  Percival Everet’s epigraph talks about someone who is “not themselves today”. My goal is to never write something that I feel doesn’t represent my own ideas and feelings. 

After reading this epigraph, I connected my thoughts about it to another text we have read so far in this course. The epigraph reminded me of my personal struggles in my academic career and I thought of the blog “The Art of Scaring” by Laura Skrzypczyk because it talks about struggling college students. Laura’s blog talks about the different ways colleges communicate to students that they are not doing well academically. She says colleges should take a gentler approach when telling students that they need to work harder rather than scaring them. I agree with Laura’s opinion and think that universities should encourage students rather than scare them. After I did poorly my freshman year, I was scared by the emails I received from the dean about getting my grades up. Colleges scaring students can make them feel lost, which is exactly how I felt going into this year of college. The epigraph by Percival Everet reminded me that I am not the only one who has felt lost. Laura Skrzypczyk’s blog also talks about lost students who are struggling in their academics. Both texts have shown me that it is okay to struggle sometimes and that I can overcome it.

Having epigraphs to look at in this course has been very helpful for me. After reading the epigraph from I am Not Sidney Poitier by Percival Everet it got me thinking about my experience in college so far. I thought about what academic habits I wanted to change during this course. The epigraph talks about someone feeling lost and reuniting with their whole self. During this course, I hope to reunite with my education and find a subject that I am passionate about. The epigraph reminded me that I need to set goals for myself and try my hardest to achieve them. I have also learned from the blog “The Art of Scaring” by Laura Skrzypczyk that I am not alone in struggling with college and that I can be encouraged to get my grades up. I have many goals for this semester in college and reading the texts shown to me in this course has helped me to identify them. In this course, I am determined to find myself as a writer and to up my academic standing. 

Work Cited

Skrzypczyk, L. (2019, August 22). The Art of Scaring. Critical Writers. Retrieved September 15, 2022, from https://critical.sunygeneseoenglish.org/2018/03/24/the-art-of-scaring/ 

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