Travels of a Freshman Seminar Student: A Letter to His Professor
In order to protect the student's privacy, the original names have been altered.
I hope that your semester has begun well and that your students are adapting quickly to the academic rigors and intellectual stimulation of your courses. I thought it might be a good time to give you an update to how I'm doing.
I moved to Washington D.C. a few weeks ago. Thanks to the recommendation letter you wrote and the one Professor R. generously provided, I progressed very far in the White House Internship process. However, because of the length of the security clearance and relative lack of feedback from the Office, I decided to take an internship at the Brookings Institution in the meantime. As you predicted, it has been an interesting "growing-up experience".
I have been conducting research on domestic and international energy policy for the last few weeks, with a special emphasis on hydraulic fracturing. It is a bit odd in its specificity, but endlessly fascinating. Energy isn't my field of study, which is what made the position particularly appealing. It has been wonderful working with academics at the apex of their analytical prowess and I have learned a tremendous amount. In some ways, I am reminded of USC and the history courses I took. I have thought many times of what you taught us about the beginnings of the oil industry near Baku and the purity of Azeri oil. It is hardly surprising that the Caucasus remains one of the most productive regions in the world in this regard.
You once mentioned that it was sometimes difficult to tell if you had made an impression on your students. While I can only speak for myself, I can say that I would not be here had it not been for your instruction. Your Freshman Seminar was there at the beginning of my college career and your courses were there at the end, bracketing one of the most foundational periods of my life.
I could not have hoped for grander and more elegant intellectual bookends.
Freshman Seminar Student
P.S. The salt mine continues to yield dividends. I have invested the proceeds in new hydraulic fracturing opportunities.