As we get ready to return to school after our short Thanksgiving Break, I figured that I share one of the things that I am really thankful for. I am thankful that I get to go to an amazing small school where the professors really care about their students. One of the reasons that I chose Augustana was because of the small class sizes. This choice has certainly paid off. I’ve gotten to know many of my professors on a level that is not just academic. I’ve been able to talk to my professors about things that are going on in my life, not just about topics related to the class.
One example of this happened just last week as I was preparing to leave school for break. I was talking to a professor from the Poli Sci department (which is one of my majors) and he asked what my plans were for the holiday weekend. I told him that I would not be returning to Minnesota but would instead be going to the Chicago suburbs to spend the weekend with family there. He must have been able to sense that I wasn’t too thrilled about this and he asked why I didn’t look thrilled. I told him that while I love being part of a large family, I don’t always feel included when I go to visit these particular relatives. He asked what made me feel this way and I shared some of my reasoning, mostly being that as a “step” member of the family I don’t always feel as important as other people. The conversation ended shortly after that and he went in to his office. However, just a few minutes later he returned to the hallway with a piece of paper in hand. This piece of paper read similarly to this:
Dear Victoria’s Family,
I think Victoria is awesome, and I have a PhD, so BACK OFF.
Words cannot describe how happy this piece of paper made me. I showed it to my roommates, my friends, my mom. I’d been having a rough week, so getting a piece of paper that said I’m awesome was really nice have. It was at this moment that I realized a couple of things. First, my professors are exponentially cooler than yours are. This professor wasn’t even a current professor of mine. He had no idea that I’d been having a rough couple of weeks; yet he reached out and was able to make my day. Second, it showed me how lucky I am to go to a school where the people around me really care about my on not just an academic level but also a personal level.