Befriending Your Professors Will Help You With Life
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Befriending Your Professors Will Help You With Life

At some point during college, you'll need their advice.


As a senior, I was recently asked what the best part of attending my university has been. There have been many great moments, from celebrating a surprise football win until 4am to having revival sweep across my campus, but the best part has been one word: relationships.

The relationships with my friends have blown me away. I didn't expect such beautiful, deep friendships, but I have been blessed with them beyond my imagination. The first friend I made at college invited me to her wedding last month. One of my former roommates and I still spend hours discussing everything from boys to feminism. Getting dinner with some of my girlfriends nourishes my soul.

But I've been even more surprised by the relationships I've made with my professors.

Since my freshman year I've been to multiple professors houses, pet their dogs, held their babies, seen them cry, learned their sense of humor, read their books, grabbed coffee with them, asked them for boy advice, gotten career advice from them, eaten meals with them, texted them at midnight, called them over the summer, prayed for them, been prayed for by them, baked for them, heard their life story, defended them, helped them, worked for them, met their spouses, met their parents, and so much more.

There are some things I wish I hadn't learned, like how one of my professors lost their virginity, and some things I wish I hadn't done, like gotten sick in front a former professor and my current mentor. But regardless of the embarrassing and the awkward and the uncomfortable, I am beyond grateful to have them in my life. Because:

It was a professor who sat with me and listened to my entire life story, the first person to do so. The same professor cautioned me not to lose myself in my service to others when I told her how much I wanted to fix everyone around me to earn their love.

It was a professor (along with my mom and grandma) who helped me decide that changing my major to pursue seminary was not only a good decision, but a call from God that I had to answer.

It was a professor who showed me new levels of grace when I dropped his class and told him I wanted to go to seminary. He didn't once ask why I didn't keep his class for an elective— he wanted to hear about my call to seminary instead.

It was two professors who showed me that sometimes God calls us to paths that look different, like singleness and childlessness, in order to use and bless us in different ways.

While friends are great and can offer similar advice, they're your age, so their perspectives are often similar to yours. They haven't started careers, struggled with fertility, been a single mom, or finished a Ph.D. despite having dyslexia. And sometimes you'll need people who have already gone through those types of battles, and more battles than you can imagine, to help you with yours.

You'll also need a parent at times, but your real parents are a hundred miles away. Phone calls and Skype will keep you connected, but won't make them physically with you. You'll need real adults to physically be with you sometimes. Because:

It was a professor who spent precious class time reminding the girls about safety after an incident on campus.

It was a professor who rubbed my back and found me a ride back to my dorm when I threw up in the main academic building one morning.

It was a professor who answered with as much information as she knew when one of my classmates asked, "is it true that you're not supposed to fight if someone is trying to rape you?"

It was a professor who reminded me that I wasn't dirty or damaged goods because of some late-night cuddles in the dark with a man who I wasn't dating.

It was two professors who invited my classes to their homes at the end of busy semesters so that we could relax off campus and play with babies and dogs.

Friends can remind about safety, provide comfort and healthcare, answer questions, remind you of your worth, and get you off campus for a few hours. But once again, they don't have the life experience professors have. And sometimes you need someone who's already survived what you're struggling with, whether it be a sexual assault or completing a college degree, to offer help.

So befriend your professors. You'll need their life experience and their help at some point during your college career, whether it's about a major change that your parents don't understand or just so you can have a real adult sit with you as you fall apart. And when you graduate you will find your life more full, not only because you'll have friends for the rest of your life, but because you'll have professors who helped you make your life what it is.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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