Randi Asher ’88

I still consider Wesleyan an important home to me.  It is where I grew, found my voice, and solidified my beliefs.­ Whether deconstructing culture and theory with Professors Bob Steele and Jill Morawski or debating religion with Professor Jeremy Zwelling, valuing the process of thought is the true gift of Wesleyan. I try to share this in my work as a clinical psychologist as I help my undergraduate clients who struggle with the pressures of over achievement and college. I often recount my experience getting a D- on a paper with Professor Philip Hallie in the course, "Modern Wisdom," my first semester freshman year as the most pivotal learning moment for me. I recall the intimidating walk into his grand Russell House office. As I trembled, waiting to discuss my paper and his comment, "Baffling,” Professor Hallie urged me to first step onto the balcony of his office and, literally, smell the garden full of roses blooming below.  Obedient student that I was, I obliged.  We discussed the paper there, on the balcony, surrounded by the fragrance. To my surprise, I had done too much, and apparently, a "nice little thesis research paper" wasn't necessary. He simply wanted me to share my reflections; he wanted to know what I thought. Start speaking up in class, sharing my thoughts, and I'd be fine. It was a difficult but tremendous lesson.  Wesleyan, through its teachers and its friendships, is the place where I learned to believe in my ideas and grow from those of others. To truly smell those roses: it is a lesson for which I am forever grateful and have never forgotten.