Dr. Margaret Emblom-Callahan
Assistant Division Dean
Assistant professor of Biology
AND Natural Science
“Recently took up skating with my daughter and has not yet been taken from the ice by the medics”
I can do a mohawk on ice, I know, this is crazy! First, I skated forward on one foot, tracing the line of a half moon, then I switched feet halfway through the moon and finish on one foot skating backwards! If you had asked me a month ago, I would have said, “no way!” and I would have looked at you as if you had 3 ears. Of course if this were easy, I would have had no interest in learning how to do it. I mean, what is the point of learning something you can already do? On ice, I get the added thrill of failure to execute a move well means immediate bruising, possible concussion or a broken leg. Those are some incentives to not mess up, huh?
Well, when learning to skate, take it from me; you WILL fall down, REPEATEDLY! It reminds me of starting back to school at NOVA as an adult. EVERYTHING was difficult. Not because I can’t learn, but because I did not know how to learn efficiently, and I had other important influences in my life. Instead of the ice making everything slippery, I had a family with health issues and later a daughter and I had to pay my own way. Instead of bruises for my incentive to not fail, I had life goals. I wanted to do something really meaningful with my life.
Nevertheless, just like on ice, each success was balanced by a fall. With every fall in school, just like on ice, I had to shake it off, stand up and continue. Eventually I continued through a doctoral defense and a career teaching Biology at NOVA! While skating is a serious challenge to me, it is so similar to my academic and life goals that I think I know the secret to success – keep working at it, stand up after every fall, find pleasure in the challenges and I will succeed.