Don't get me wrong-- I have no doubt that the vast majority of instructors carry a genuine passion for the material they teach. Unfortunately, I am not certain that the same can always be said regarding how much they care about their students. There is no denying that some care far more than others, and those are the instructors who truly make a difference.
I have thankfully had several absolutely fantastic professors and instructors so far in college. It was not until recently, though, that I noticed the disconnect between me as a student and the majority of my instructors. Unlike high school, I didn't have go-to instructors that were part of my academic support system.
After reaching out to one of my instructors for internship-related advice and receiving a wonderful amount of help and support, I realized how much I needed it. Not necessarily the advice itself, but simply knowing that I had support.
It is time for universities to start placing a heavier emphasis on hiring instructors who are not only knowledgeable and qualified but who truly want what is best for each and every student. Excellent instructors serve a greater purpose than relaying and explaining material. They are more than a walking, talking textbook. They are there to give students the tools they need to reach success, and at the very least, to guide students in the right direction.
You might be wondering why I bother writing all of this. Surely professors will help the students who ask for it, right? I suppose so, but I also strongly believe that instructors must make a conscious effort to create a welcoming environment. They need to encourage students to attend office hours, ask questions, and send emails. It is not difficult to discern the difference between instructors who begrudgingly provide their email address and instructors who actually want their students to reach out.
I am lucky because with the classes I have taken, most of my instructors at least knew my name. Many told us to reach out if we needed help. The best ones, though, were the ones who showed that they meant it.