September 27, 2019

Joyful Learning


Gillian Sherman ’19 arrived at Guilford from Manhattan in New York City nearly four years ago. It was a big change, but it grew on her.

“Whether you are studying for a test, writing an essay, or just studying, try to remember why you chose this topic and think about the exciting parts of your field that you love. Always find the joy, it will broaden your opportunities for growth.”

Gillian Sherman '19
English and Media Studies major, Honors student

“Your time at Guilford will come and go before you know it, so stop and enjoy the beautiful campus, time with your friends, moments in class that make you excited about learning — cherish it all. Utilize your time at Guilford as this place will change your life because it changed mine,” she says, diploma fresh in hand.  

An English and Media Studies major, Gillian has decided to pursue teaching. She’s had some stellar examples in her professors at Guilford. Gillian took British literature with Heather Hayton in 2016. 

“It was certainly the hardest class for me in my whole English major, but it was fun challenge,” she says. “Heather is passionate about the subject so she really helped bring the readings to life and made all the texts entertaining and relevant.”

‘Opportunities for Growth’

Heather was also Gillian’s Honors senior thesis adviser. One day, Gillian was feeling particularly discouraged with her thesis when Heather reminded her to “find the joy in learning.” Months later, this advice lingers in Gillian’s mind. 

“Heather’s right. When college gets hard and you feel discouraged, you have to remember why you started and what makes you excited about whatever it is you are doing,” she advises. “Whether you are studying for a test, writing an essay, or just studying, try to remember why you chose this topic and think about the exciting parts of your field that you love. Always find the joy, it will broaden your opportunities for growth.”

Gillian also noted her gratitude for Amber Slade in Guided Discovery who helped her get into graduate school and her first job. She also deeply appreciated all of her English professors. 

“I found that the English Department at Guilford teaches you to think critically, challenge concepts and ideas, and how to write in a way that will not only persuade a reader, but excite them as well,” she says. “I loved the ability to dive deep into a text and have meaningful discussions with my classmates.”

‘Ways of Learning’

This fall, Gillian returned to the city of her youth to begin the MAT program at Bank Street College of Education, a school she describes as similar to Guilford in that it emphasizes class-based discussion, close professor-student relationships, and writing. There she will focus on general and special education for elementary school students. 

“I’ve always been interested in the different ways of learning that are not considered traditional according to societal standards,” she explains.

After finishing her advanced degree, she hopes to teach elementary-age special education students. One day she’d like to work more in advocacy to bring supported programs to special education students who may not have access. 

Her passion for education is sure to bring the joy of learning to new generations.

Are you interested in studying literature, teaching, or preparing for graduate school? Schedule your personalized visit to Guilford to meet faculty, students, and staff who are eager to help you reach your goals.