As Jodie was reading through the memories, she was struck by the convergence of the memories with a recent Gallup-Purdue Index that measured the experiences that were most critical to students. The top six experiences were:
- Having a professor that makes them excited to learn
- Having a professor who cares about them as a person
- Having a professor as an encouraging mentor
- Working on a long term project
- Doing an internship
- Being extremely active in extracurriculars
What she began to realize was that each of the memories touched on one or more of these experiences. The next memory was a good example.
I have a very fond memory of how you helped me through a very rough time. In less than an hour of discussion, I went from being distraught and terrified for my future to being comfortable with the situation and my way forward.
As a sophomore, during the fall semester I started losing weight and getting sick and eventually found out the cause was me becoming a Type I (juvenile) diabetic. Three days after my Calc 3 final exam, I was in the ICU for 4 days (over Christmas) and going through a considerable shift in life. I also got my grades and found out I got a “D” in my Calc class.
Terrified of a bad grade impacting my GPA, I was in town and decided to stop by unscheduled and found that you were in your office. I walked in thinking how bad this is going to be for me and how it will hold me back. I walked out of your office realizing that the only way it would hold me back is if I let it hold me back. I told you about my “D” and you asked me something along the lines of, “If you’re in an interview and someone asks about that bad grade, what do you think the impact will be when they find out you passed the class given your health circumstances? Just get a good grade in Calc 4 and you’ll be fine.” You also asked who my Calc 4 professor was, and after I told you, you smiled and said I would be fine. I went from thinking the world was ending to realizing that I would not need to take any classes over and as long as I continued to work hard, one bad grade would be of no impact in my future.
I have always respected how reachable and approachable you were. You seemed willing to help every student that set foot on campus. You were a true blessing for me throughout college and after college. That model is something I strive to be for others and hope I can be a positive impact for others like you have been for me.
I’m married now, and my husband and I have 3 children. One of our children we adopted from a really bad personal situation. She, like me, is diabetic and child protective services could find no one to care for her.
Heather – Class of 2012