Jodie spent weeks sorting through the memory tributes. She had wanted to sort them by timeline of when the connections occurred with her professor. She found this to be tough because the connections spanned a lifetime, not just a semester or a student’s time during college years. The sorting was somewhat arbitrary. What especially surprised her was how early the connections were formed. The following memory was an example of others telling about their first encounters.
I’ll never forget the first day we connected. I had just finished the campus summer orientation where I set my schedule for the fall. I got an email from you welcoming me to your class.
I knew that the email was probably sent to every student in your class, but it seemed like it was specifically addressed to me. I couldn’t understand how you knew what I was worried about.
I didn’t realize it then, but every week I got another email from you. And each one further reduced my anxieties. You seemed to know exactly what I needed to know when I needed to know it.
I shared the emails with my parents. They were amazed that a college professor would reach out to their students like that. Neither my mom nor dad went to college, so your emails were a real learning experience for them as well.
I must say that I felt I knew you before I ever appeared in your class. That first day we had class, there were 200 students in the room, and it seemed like every one of us already knew you.
Little did I know that the email that I received months before college started would continue through college and now after college. Those emails are now being shared widely in my organization. I even share them with my children.
You often told us that college would help us form connections for our lifetimes. I never understood how important that insight was, but you showed me the way.
Noah – Class of 2001