Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thank You Note Catch-Up Session


I have many more to write, but here I am early Saturday morning, catching up on just a few of my late thank-you-notes.

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Dear Assistant Dean at Northwestern,
I remember the day that you stopped me in one of the hallway of the Northwestern Tech building, and asked me if I had seen my undergraduate advisor yet? Yes—I was just walking away from his office. “I’m your advisor from now on” you said. You sat me down in your office, and we talked about my schedule—another year of calculus, physics, and the start of my engineering requirements. You might have asked some questions; I don’t remember. But I do remember that our meeting corrected the course twist that had likely been set into effect after my previous meeting. I don’t remember his name, only that he was an engineering professor. He closed the door behind me and I showed him my planned schedule. He remarked that it was a particularly demanding schedule. I told him that according to my reading, it was exactly what was required for a sophomore engineering student. He then asked me if I was a party girl. I remember confusion—mostly centered on the definition of a party girl and whether or not I met the criteria. And I remember leaving his office and walking out the door and my brain was creating a new path (by now well-worn) between two simple but previously unconnected ideas: Do I belong? and What an asshole! Your intervention that day told me: Yes. I do belong. And that was all I needed to hear.

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Dear Professor,
            I don’t remember who you are nor where nor when, but I remember our interaction. You saw a student (me) with the paperback version of The Double Helix on her stack of papers and folders.  You barely knew me, but you stopped and asked me if I had read Anne Sayre’s book too. Huh? Who? You looked me in the eye and said: You can’t read that (put your finger on Watson’s book) without reading the book about Rosalind Franklin. You made me write it down. You made me promise. And then we parted ways. I didn’t like either book, with different reasons for each, but you’re right—I needed both.  So thank you for your presence in my life at that moment.

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