By Amanda Newfield
Every quarter starts the same. The weather may differ but the
classes don’t. You have the same major, similar subject matter and
the same group of peers surrounding you.
One thing that is different is the professor running the
The class topics may appear to be uninteresting and sometimes
dull, but when presented with enthusiasm and excitement, a
professor can make these classes come to life.
I recently asked myself why Cal Poly means so much to me and why
I spend countless hours in a place that’s charging me
My answer: professors who care.
Few professors teach in a way that causes their students to love
the topic they are teaching. Most professors care about the
students in their classes, but few go the extra mile and turn the
class into an enlightening experience.
Professors at this institution have considerable knowledge of
the topics they teach, and for that I respect them thoroughly.
But there are those select few who teach with passion and
The topics they teach burn within them like an all-consuming
fire and they demand attention, not with their words but with the
passion that drives them.
These professors tell relevant stories of experience while
offering valuable advice to their inexperienced students.
They themselves are lifetime learners and are therefore easy to
Those few professors make this college experience worth every
They are gods in this little university-world. Students talk
about these instructors’ classes for months afterward and recommend
their friends take the courses.
They inspire young people to go on to bigger and better things
with encouraging words and challenging curriculum.
Those professors who believe in their students see potential.
They have the ability to draw out more from their students.
Sometimes the gifts they draw out are abilities that even the
student is unaware of, but these professors take the time to notice
the talent and believe in the student enough to bring it out.
They are a testament to their profession.
Maybe this person in your life is not an instructor but a mentor
or a program coordinator or even a coach.
Maybe they have believed in you more than you thought anyone
ever could, or went the extra mile when no one else does.
As students we are obligated to thank these individuals for the
way they care. None of our teachers are required to give 110
Few of them are recognized for the amount of passion they teach
with or for the amount of belief they have in their students.
In addition, most of them are not even being adequately
compensated for their hard work.
They do it because they are passionate about what they do and we
should express our gratitude for this.
This week I would like to give you a homework assignment. If now
or in past quarters you have one of these professors or mentors,
Do it in person, by e-mail, phone, or Facebook. Whichever medium
suits you best. But do it.
Tell them they have made a difference in your life.
They need and deserve to know.
Reach Amanda Newfield at:
Social norms aren’t normal
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