Wiliam Stollar | How a Good Educator Can Unlock Our Potential

Document created by Sara Jo Lee on Mar 18, 2020Last modified by Sara Jo Lee on Mar 18, 2020
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Wiliam Stollar shares what drives him to achieve more.
My Journey to #AchieveMore
I was in my mid-thirties when I decided to challenge myself once again. I started graduate school. It was actually pretty easy, as I was no longer an immature 17-year old, and only interested in young females. I found I liked studying. After several years, the week of my qualifying doctoral exams rolled around, and my research work was completed. I took the first of four examinations on Monday. They would be taken each day through Thursday, one subject per day. Chemistry was the subject on Thursday. I started, but one question completely stumped me. I panicked inwardly. I didn't know the answer, but I had to put something on paper, so I wrote some gibberish. I knew it was terrible...but I felt I had to do something, and just didn't know that material well. I went home, a bit dejected, not really ready for my oral examination the next morning. It came quickly and I found myself on a solitary chair, facing all four professors. I wondered if this was what the Inquisition was like. Each professor, in turn, asked me one or more questions regarding his specialty. I answered the questions quite well, I thought. Then, it was my chemistry professor's turn...and guess what question he asked me. He had me dead to rights; he knew it; I knew it. I offered some drivel answer. He was kind enough to not smirk. Instead, he said, "Okay, Bill...let ask you another." He went on by asking me a more basic question. I answered. He followed my answer with another question, one related to my answer. He did this several times, each question being more detailed. I answered them. Then...he asked me the original question...only now, I knew the answer. It was as if he had taken me by the nose and pulled it until I was staring at the answer. I could have kissed him. Somehow, he knew that I knew the answer. I just didn't know how to get there. I never forgot that lesson. I use that wonderful lesson with my own students. See two of their photos below.

What Drives You to #AchieveMore?

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