Connections – Episode 24

One thing that Jodie began to appreciate about her professor was how his connections with students had extended to their family members as well. He had taught grandparents, parents, brothers/sisters, cousins, aunts/uncles of students. She remembered how he began his freshman first day. He asked students to raise their hands if he had taught a family member. Nearly half of the class had their hand raised. These connections seemed to be special in supporting his students, she thought. The next memory is a good example.

Looking back on my four years of college and the first four years of my career, no one has had such an important impact on my academic and professional life as you. While I always was very grateful and appreciative of everything you did for students along the way, I feel as if I gain a greater appreciation for your mentorship with every opportunity I achieve and every challenge I overcome as my career progresses. As I started working alongside colleagues from the traditional top schools from across the country, it didn’t take long to realize that you had prepared me better than I ever knew. Comparing college experiences with coworkers showed that, thanks to you. We were just as good, and often better than many of the academic ‘elite’ at their jobs, while also having the life skills to succeed beyond just careers.

Personally, I cannot imagine what my life would look like today without your counseling. I still remember how amazed I was the first time I met you after you said how I looked just like my Uncle John when he was a student. Additionally, the stories of my Aunt Dina, my mother Joy, and my grandfather Phil were equally as impressive and comforting to hear. The instant recollection and connection to my family made me feel at home and provided me with confidence in you as my advisor. This trust in my advisor was even more critical when my dad passed away my sophomore year. You made sure to reach out and provide thoughtful support to me at a time that I could have easily let negatively impact my education. I will always be thankful for that.

Coming to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Your class is what sold me to try the major I had not heard of before college. I could not be happier with this choice. Not only did I get a degree that equipped me for any situation in the working world, but I also gained lifetime friends from the network of students you helped cultivate. It was in this network of friends that I was even so lucky to find my best friend Madison, who now also happens to be my wife. It was also your network and recommendation that led to my internship. I truly believe that my life would look very, very different if it wasn’t for your impact, and I am sure I still will have you to thank for many other opportunities yet to come.

Steve – Class of 2015

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