It takes a very special person to be able to influence your life in a huge way. It may be a parent, friend, grandparent, or other person in authority over you. For me, those people were my professors.
Three professors in particular stick out to me over my total college career that have changed my life for the better. One of them didn't even teach classes I was interested in, but had to take anyway. Two were professors who mentored me through the work field that I had in mind because they taught the classes I was excited to take. As every student knows, professors can either make or break a class - whether you like the coursework or not. I've had professors totally ruin a class that I thought I would love, and others who made me love classes that I never thought I would.
So, to the professors who were so much more than just educators,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow and learn the best way that I could. Whether that meant a lot of office hours, late-night emails, working with me through extensions and extra credit, the way that you allowed me to learn at my own pace gave me the chance to soak in as much information as I could. Personal relationships were put before deadlines which made me, as a student, feel like so much more than just a number on an attendance sheet or a taken seat in the back.
Thank you for always keeping your door open. I've had professors close their doors on me and blatantly ignore any office hours that I scheduled and that, in the long run, severely impacted the knowledge that I was supposed to learn in those classes. However, the fact that you made yourself available anytime your students needed help, made us feel validated and important, even if we were ready to burst into tears from confusion or stress.
Thank you for giving me wisdom that sometimes didn't even pertain to the coursework for the class. Whether it was an off the cuff discussion or words of advice for how to deal with the college scene in general, that extra push was exactly what I needed to keep going no matter how much I didn't want to.
Thank you for acknowledging my mental health. The fact that you cared enough to work with me, even if it was inconvenient for you, showed me that I was important, even with the mental health struggles I face every day. Some professors have told me to suck it up, but the understanding and support you gave me had monumentally positive impacts on my life and it made me feel like I was more than whatever I was battling.
From someone who never even wanted to go to a university to begin with, you've made my college career more than worth it. Even if all of my other memories from college were negative, the positivity that you brought into my life would have made every second worth it. Because of you, I've been able to confirm exactly what I want to do with my life, what I for sure don't want to do, and what skills that I have that can make a difference in the world. Because of you, I truly believe in myself and the strengths I have. Because of you, I can hold my head up high knowing that I have people rooting for me, no matter what.