University of Vermont

Motivational Mondays

Dunki-Jacobs is making a difference, one email at a time

Margie Dunki-Jacobs at her office in the Middle Level & Secondary Education department in the College of Education & Social Services.

It started out with a small thank you card a group of students left on the desk of Margie Dunki-Jacobs, Administrative Assistant in the Middle Level and Secondary Education Programs in the Department of Education in the College of Education and Social Services. Each day for the past six years, Margie assists the Program Coordinators and faculty in helping graduate and undergraduate students navigate through their educational experience from A to Z into their professional roles as teachers in middle schools and high schools everywhere.  While many students have shown appreciation in different ways for her help over the years, the unexpected note from an endearing group of Middle Level Education undergraduates touched her heart – and she wanted to do more than just thank them.  She wanted lots of other people to feel the way she did when she received the note, and so it motivated her to do something more. 

“I wanted the students to know how much the card meant to me, and so I created a “Motivational Mondays” email. Each week I would pick a quote that inspired me, and then I would share it with the students,”  Margie explained, listing a few of her favorite Motivational Monday quotes:

"I take nothing for granted.  I only have good days or great days!"

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."

The emails, with the subject line “Motivational Mondays”, originally popped up in the email accounts of just  seven people. Unknowingly to Margie, the emails started to get forwarded to friends and family, gaining popularity amongst students and faculty who appreciated an email with motivating words. Margie started receiving requests to join the listserv on a weekly basis.

“There were faculty and staff asking to be added to the listserv,” said Margie with some surprise, noting that the "Motivational Monday" email now gets sent to over 70 people. “I also started to get emails from students letting me know how a quote would make a difference in their week.”  That motivated her to go one step further.  To mark the end of the semester, Margie is offering an opportunity to students who have been motivated by one of the quotes to take a minute out of their day and just email her how a motivational quote affected their lives in a positive way, and by just submitting their experience to her, they receive a surprise.

In her quest for inspirational quotes, she has also started adding them to her door as you enter her office.  It is here where students often stop to say hello or share a story, and it is inspiring to see people read the quotes and walk away and say, “I love that quote.”  Sometimes, one little quote in your head can stick with you and motivate you throughout the day.  This is just a simple yet perfect little reminder of how a caring and nurturing community exists within the Department of Education.

“Looking for inspirational quotes has been fun and motivating in and of itself, and if just one person has a better day because of a quote I sent, that makes me smile.  If they then share it with others, think of how far reaching those good vides can go in a day.  That motivates me.  It’s a win, win,” said Margie.  In a Department that teaches students how to be future educational leaders, the “Motivational Monday” emails are also a reminder of the moral character a leader needs to possess. 

Do you want to start your own Motivational Monday in your department?  After all, nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.