Professors: Friend or Foe?

Marie Fischer—When I left high school, one of my biggest fears was that I would never be able to relate to my teachers like I did in high school. My classes were going to be bigger, and the amount of time in which I could just walk into their room was going to be shortened. During the first semester here, I felt like I was simply a face in the crowd when it came to my classes. Until one day, I wasn’t.

GEP 100 (Academic Planning Seminar) was not exactly a every freshman’s favorite class, except for me, it seemed. My professor, Warren Kozireski, was a person who really wanted to get to know his students. When I went in to make my schedule for the spring semester, he never made me feel like it was a waste of time for him. He was simply there to help me and truly get to know me and the path I wanted to be on in life. I always thought for teachers, us students were just a passing face. A connection with my teachers seemed to be only a possibility in high school. That was until I started making a number of connections as time went by.

In the spring semester of my freshman year, I made it my own mission to become more involved with school and aim for the 4.0. (High hopes, I know.) But I found that without making a solid relationship with my teachers, that dream would have never even been possible.

A favorite class of mine was my Intro to Lit Analysis with Greg Garvey. If you haven’t yet fulfilled your English requirement or are an English major, register into one of his classes ASAP. He will make you think about literature in a very different way than you ever have, and even about life, to be honest.

I was disappointed in my writing at the time; to me I thought it was very immature and not quite as eloquent as my peers. But Garvey was one of the first teachers who made me believe in myself as a writer, and didn’t diminish me for not having all the fancy words that I saw everyone else using. I distinctly remember him telling me that I had a very pronounced voice, and that unlike my peers I was telling my own interpretation of what I was reading, rather than spitting back what my teachers wanted to hear.

Fast forward to this year, where I decided to really get out of my comfort zone and take an African American Women Literature class. My reasoning for taking it wasn’t purely to fulfill my Gen-Eds. But rather because I grew up in an all white neighborhood, where the history of African American people was seldom even looked at. Coming into the class, I was told all about how Althea Tait was a very brilliant mind. And not soon after the beginning of class did I learn how true that was.

It was as if she always knew what had to be said and when. I wrote down almost everything she said in such a frenzy because it was all so relevant in my life; it was as if she was walking this path right beside me. When it came to our first exam, I was so unbelievably nervous to turn it in. I couldn’t imagine this woman reading my essays would even be the least bit impressed.

But I turned out to be very wrong. When I saw that I got a 100 on my exam, I was certain it was a mistake. And as I made my way into her office to discuss it, I was certain it was not going to end well, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As we discussed my grade, we also discussed my future. It was ironic due to the fact that I have been in constant doubt in regards to my future, and Dr. Tait shared with me what she said she tells all her advisees. She told me to think about what I love, what I could stay up all night doing and get right back up in the morning and do again. That in order to go for what we want we must not place ourselves into boxes of Plan A, B and C. But rather find the funds that will allow us to support that dream.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that connections are important, and the bonds that you create with your teachers are probably the most important. They are the ones who are going to push you, they will see you at your best, and know when to push you to go beyond it.

Coming to Brockport, I found a family in not only my friends but within the faculty as well. You never know what you’re going to get from coming to college. And I just so happened to find a rock solid group of supporters.

 

 

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