I could format this like an email, professional and well thought out, starting with “Dear,” and ending with “Sincerely,” but I don’t think that would do it justice. I could use every apostrophe and every comma, spell check this a hundred times- but it would never sound right. No, this is not an email. It’s a conversation. With the teacher who got me through this year. Because you made our visits into conversations, often about the material at hand, but also about whatever came to mind. We’ve started a continuous conversation whether it be in your office or early on a Sunday morning at Caribou, you always showed up for the conversation. More importantly, you contributed.
I’ve had professors give the spiel of, “Come see me if you need help, my door is always open,” and then turn me away when I do show up. I’ve had professors help me, but seem to be distracted with something else they would rather be doing. I’ve had professors drop a topic if I don’t understand it after the first time (which you know from working with me, is quite often). I’ve had professors teach me in an email format, following a list of made up rules, dotting their I’s and and crossing their T’s. From them, I learned little but how to better format an email.
You, on the other hand, continued to talk. You dropped the email and talked face to face, starting a conversation that I will carry with me as I continue my years as a student. You were always there. You showed up, you stayed late, you went out of your way to meet with me. Most importantly, you taught me. You accepted the way that I learned and adapted to it, knowing that sometimes I needed to hear something multiple times before understanding. Never once did I feel like you had somewhere else to be or something better to do. Never once was I reluctant to ask you for help or admit I was lost. You made it possible for me to make it through this year.
To the teacher who got me through it, not only my classes, but this year in general. I’ve had a lot of outside forces seeming to push and pull me in so many directions that I was sure I was going to break. You admitted that you too had a year that seemed to kick you harder than the rest, a year when getting back up seemed almost impossible. A simple connection, a simple conversation that I will never forget.
Thank you, for getting me through this year.
Thank you, for caring enough show up. Every time.
Thank you, for giving me a conversation to look forward to, a conversation to ensure that tomorrow was worth getting to and a conversation to carry with me as the years go on.