A Prayer in Spring

I don’t know how I received a scholarship this year. My undergrad GPA was 2.65, and I have misgivings about being smart enough to be in this program. The only reassurance I have is that the admissions team is smarter than me, so they must know what they’re doing. (One day, everyone will find out I’m a fraud.)

Who knew Paul McCartney feels the same way?

In any case, I wrote thank you notes for my scholarship tonight.

The scholarship I received was in honor of Dr. Nanette V. Mengel, who taught communications across disciplines at UNC. I would have loved to have known Dr. Mengel. She coached her students to become better writers and by all accounts was a humble person who enjoyed simple living and the joys of serious contemplation.


I wanted to write a thoughtful note to Dr. Mengel’s family, one that conveyed how much the scholarship meant to me, not just in terms of borrowing less money to go to school, but in psychic support that I’d made a good decision to pursue education.

In searching for information about her, I found this remembrance: a prayer in spring

Dr. Mengel recounts teaching one particular student, a registered nurse who attended Mengel’s night class. The student challenged Mengel at every turn, asking her to unpack poems and poets, like T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost.

A turning point comes when Dr. Mengel and the student meet for the last time and read together Robert Frost’s A Prayer in Spring, which begins

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away

The student understands at last Frost’s “blissful acknowledgment of loving in present time.”

I finished my thank you notes to Dr. Mengel’s family and included a copy of her remembrance.
I hope I conveyed how grateful I am for the scholarship and what Dr. Mengel taught me this evening.

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