16. Dean J Nelson


Dean Nelson was my Ethics teacher at Dutchess Community College this past fall. He was a very straightforward individual who spoke his mind but no matter what, always seemed right. Since the very first day of class, I was immediately intrigued by his lectures and paid attention every second. Throughout the year, I became more aware of being a moral human being, not in any religious or strict way, just in a common sense way. Shortly after the first exam I visited Dean’s office to discuss my grade and see what I had gotten wrong. After this visit, the visits became more frequent to the point I referred to myself as Plato to his Socrates.

Dean taught me through his class how to have proper respect for both humans and animals and privately consoled me on vegetarianism. I was a vegetarian for roughly a month from late December until mid-January and have stopped for now, due to the lack of available food sometimes, but I do not eat meat alot. I do eat some, mainly chicken, but in due time I will be vegetarian for good. He showed me that it is easier than advertised and I can still lead my overly athletic lifestyle living on a meatless diet.

In one class, he invented a quote which I committed to memory. It went “teaching, for me in here, is like chopping down forests or irrigating deserts.” What he meant was that in order for people to be successful in life morally, they had to adopt their own thinking and throw out what they had been told by their parents, religion, etc. He, more than anyone else, enforced my idea that everyone needs to improve the way that they live morally and stand up for the beliefs that they have. He wanted all of his students to put grades aside and apply his teachings to their lives, not because he was preaching to us, but because he was showing us the way we ought to live. He said that his job would be done if only one of us took his teachings to heart. I know within myself that that goal was met.

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