From a CHEM 2A student - February 26, 2009
Hi Professor Toupadakis,
I had you as a professor back in Fall Quarter of 2007. I remember
how you encouraged the class to discover themselves and to find
out what's important in their lives. You recommended some books
over the course of the 07-08 year. I was able to read "Tuesdays
with Morrie" by Mitch Albom and "The Last Lecture"
by Randy Pausch. Both books had touched my life and made me think
of things that I haven't realized. I wouldn't have gotten to this
stage if it wasn't for you, even though all you did was suggested
the book to the class. But even the smallest things can make the
biggest difference. Thank you, Professor Toupadakis.
By the way, I also remember how there were some students in class
getting upset or frustrated when you would encourage students to
think about their lives and to read certain books. But, despite
them, I hope that you continue to reach out to the students. I'm
pretty sure that there will be plenty of other students like me
among the crowd who are listening eagerly to your wise words.
Thank you for your time. I hope that you have a good day.
February 25, 2009
Hi Professor Toupadakis,
I just wanted to thank you one more time for taking your time to
talk to us, your students, not just about chemistry but things that
are more important. I thank you for not being afraid to look silly
repeating what seems to be the same thing because there is always
at least one person in the room who needs to hear those words. Sometimes
I feel like your words are addressed specifically to me. That happened
to my roommate as well. When she broke up with her boyfriend, you
said that we have no control over life, we lose people, and it's
I always look forward to your lectures when I'm feeling down.
I hope you have a great day,
From a CHEM 2A and CHEM 2B student
February 22, 2009
How are you doing? I hope you remember me. I took you're Chem.
Workshop and Chem. 2A and 2B courses two years ago. I transferred
to UC Berkeley last semester, and of all the professors I've had
so far, the advice you gave us students during class and office
hours has really stuck with me. I recently took up the idea that
I should do something outside of school that I really enjoyed. In
Davis, I thought my workload wouldn't allow me to do this, so I
never had to chance. I recently started reading novels, and I found
that it actually helped me do better in school. I found that I could
balance doing something I enjoy on the side of my school workload.
It's something you suggested to me, and I just wanted to thank you
for being such a great professor. I'm sure there are other student's
such as I who truly appreciate the effort you put into teaching
the course material as well as the advice you interject in lecture
and office hours.
Hope all is well.
From a CHEM 2A student
December 22, 2008
Dear Dr. Toupadakis,
I was in your chem. 2a lecture and found you to be quite encouraging.
Over break I have been working on scholarship applications and I
had come across something I had written for my college application
to Davis. Going through the writing I was surprised to find a piece
of writing that sounds very similar to something you might have
said. I thought you may be interested in reading it. :)
"Ever since I can remember I have wanted to be a doctor. When
I was child, I would pretend I was a doctor. I was my dad's doctor,
he would say that I was the best doctor there ever was and I believed
him. From that point forward, the seed to pursue my dream was planted.
In the sixth grade my aspiration to become a doctor was affirmed
when the most devastating event I had ever experienced took place.
My fifteen-year-old brother Jeremy died. He was involved in a tragic
and peculiar incident where he was hit by a car. At the hospital
I found my brother lying lifeless. He was in a coma, with broken
bones and bruises, but what killed him was his brain stem had been
broken. Before that day, I would have never imagined that something
that bad could happen. It literally felt like the world had stopped
spinning and had crumpled beneath my feet and all that was left
was the smoldering aftermath. From that day forth that seed that
was once planted began to sprout. From then on I have gathered up
all the tears, the sorrow, the pain, and moved on, just one step
after another. All of those tragic emotions combine together creating
a flame of passion. This passion I can feel burning deep down in
my soul; it ignites my drive. At times, going on after Jeremy's
death felt like the world was a battlefield and I was at war, but
I refused to give up. The more resistance I receive the more I fight
back, one step at a time. Nothing will stop me from pursuing my
dreams with the passion of brother backing me up. I live on not
only from myself, but for him as well. I want to really live my
life by making a difference, and by becoming a doctor I aspire to
make a difference in the world. Maybe I will even save that next
person. I remember thinking that day that Jeremy died, "How
will I ever be happy again?" Today, I can honestly say that
I am happy and excited for life. I find happiness in new ways too,
and I see the world itself and life in a whole new appreciation.
I feel like there is something much greater to life then the petty
day to day concerns that can so easily consume our interests. I
find hope and contentment when I watch the sun rise up to a clouded
sky in the morning, how it's rays shine through and illuminate everything
in vibrate pinks and golden yellows, or how full the night sky is
of stars. By looking past all the comparably smaller things in my
own life, and standing back to take in the larger perspective of
life I feel empowered and I am ready to take on any struggle I may
come to face for the greater good of humanity. "
~Written by Jessica L. Kirby
Thanks for reading!
See you in Chem 2B!