Teachers. They hold the power to come into your world and change your life. To teach you much more than just academics. To teach you about people. About the world. Broaden your perspective.
Joel Silvers. Filmmaker, Writer, Professor, Mentor and much much more. He had this power. That guy knew everything about everything. I liked to say that if Joel didn’t know about it, it didn’t exist. It just couldn’t. Because if there was a movie, or an article, or a book written about it Joel would find it. And write an analysis on it. And a plot diagram. Oh, his beloved plot diagrams. Joel was a genius, structuring his class in a way that would bond all of us together for life. He knew what he was doing when he would jump around the room and stomp his feet in excitement when making a point. It worked wonders.
Most of all Joel had the largest heart. He cared so deeply about each and every student that stepped foot into his classroom. Joel would spend days critiquing just one person’s script so he could give back at least 6 pages of suggestions to make it better and 2 pages of compliments (not an exaggeration at all). Joel would take time out of his day and schedule hour long meetings (even though they always ended up being much longer than an hour) with every single person in his class so he could talk about their individual project with them. There were times when I doubted my abilities, when I wanted to pull my hair out, when I was too hard on myself. But he showed me my potential. He never gave up on me. He never gave up on any of us.
Joel made us better writers, better filmmakers, but most importantly better people. That cowboy boots wearing, vegan pizza loving, yoga crazy man made an impact on each and every person he met. The Communications Department (or the Department of Mounting Tension as Joel liked to put it) will never be the same without him. Joel will be missed dearly by everyone. But I think Joel would want us to feel are emotions. To embrace it. To embrace each other. And observe each other. Observe ourselves. Watch how humans grieve. And then how they come together and lift each other up in times of sadness. He would tell us to write it down and translate it in our work, and in our life.
I vow to write every day. To create as much as possible. I vow to not doubt myself. To have confidence in my ideas, in my stories. I vow to thank the people in my life as often as I possibly can. To let them know how much they really mean to me. And most of all I vow to care as deeply for people as Joel did. To open my heart to others.
We will make you proud Joel.
The things I love most about living in Detroit are simply the little things. The things most people who are just visiting wouldn’t notice. The murmurs of multiple conversations mixed with the beautiful sounds of the falling fountain when doing homework in Campus Martius. The gorgeous street art you just stumble upon when walking on campus. The somehow charming uneven sidewalks and new unique architecture that pop out at you every time you pass the street.
Growing up in the suburbs I never knew what it would be like living in an urban area like Detroit. I fell in love with the city as soon as I toured Wayne State University, awed by the tall buildings and bustling streets. Two years later and I am still just in love with the city feel than I was when I was a Freshman. But now, I have a better appreciation for the little things in Detroit. The way people will go out their way just to hold a door open for you. The incredible stories about old Detroit the usher at the Fox Theatre would tell me when I worked there. The breeze through my hair when catching up with a friend at the river front.
As cheesy as it sounds those are the things I love most about living in Detroit. It’s the little things. It’s always the little things.