I applied to Mary Washington over a year ago through Early Decision. This was the only school I applied to, partially because I didn’t want to bother with other applications, but mostly because this was the only school I toured that I truly felt comfortable and at home at. Exactly 12 months ago, I was filling out my housing form, trying to decide which FSEMs to sign up for.

In all honesty, my only criteria for signing up for FSEM selection was whether or not it was in a Residence Hall with AC, and how much the class tied into history or literature. “Hey,” I thought to myself. “This is a little bit of all of that. I’ll put it down.”

And here I sit, 12 months later, writing a reflection on the aftermath of that very decision. Aftermath is a strong word. Consequences? Effects? One of those words. I did not know what Don Quixote was when I signed up for this class, other than a hunch that there was some relation to Shakespeare based on the time period. I was right about that much.

After this course, and especially after our group project, I will remember the character of Don Quixote as in a word, iconic. Perhaps idiosyncratic. A character who has caused me great personal frustration as I read of his misguided yet whimsical peregrinations. But a character does not need to be infallible in order to be memorable. In fact, the opposite is true. When Don Quixote freed the galley slaves in the first portion of the book, I could not help but shake my head in frustration. Why would one do something as stupid as letting a slew of criminals out to wander the world freely? I even laughed a bit at the events that took place after Quixote and Sancho Panza met the Duke and Duchess, as their gullibility did not surprise me. (Perhaps that’s a bit mean spirited of me, though.) I did not realize the great extent to which Cervantes’ work has influenced so much in popular culture, even now after 400 great years.

But no matter how much I may critique Quixote, whether it be for his foolishness, lack of leadership qualities, or blind following of a misinterpreted and outdated social dogma, the character remains undoubtably unforgettable. After all, the words”when life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be” may be debated for truth, however, remain certainly relevant. We must keep in mind the importance of questioning social norms, and attempt to seek the truth that inherently lies in this world, without falling victim to applying blind ideology to every situation we may encounter.

Like Quixote, I will remember the idiosyncrasy of this FSEM after I have graduated. The focus of the entire class was unique and nuanced, yet had many applicable lessons – such as the use of technology. With that said, I will say that there were certain activities, such as the creation of Twitter Bots, that did not feel as applicable to my other classes or a potential career as they could have been.

Overall, I have had a good experience in my FSEM.