A Well Deserved Thank You
Since I’ve been reenrolled in school, I’ve treated my courses and my commitment to graduating pretty seriously. I guess the fire lit under my hiney could’ve been caused by a multitude of reasons. Maybe it has something to do with me being an adult and not a boy-crazed teenager. It could be the fact that we are paying for these courses from our out of state pockets, or it might be that I’m trying to set an example for my daughter. It could be one of those things or all of those things, but I’m not complaining. I have found more joy and passion in my studies these last two semesters than I have ever had for school. I’ve said this before, and I’m sure I’ll say it a million more times, but I’m not a scholar. I’m not a natural learner or academic. I’ve always had to put so much extra effort into anything I was studying and have always come up with mediocre results. I’m average at the book smarts, and honestly I’m finally okay with it.
After taking my last two courses and truly being enthralled in the subject matter, I decided to write to my professors. I’m pretty big on writing thank you cards, when they are deserved and I wanted to make sure that these two professors knew what a great job they were doing to get this Average Annie so obsessed in the subject matter which were so far from my concentration. So, I wanted to share my e-mail, in hopes of sparking some interest in thanking someone in their lives that totally inspired you, helped you, motivated you, mentored you, or nurtured your education or personal growth. It could be exactly what they need to hear today. So, as soon as my final grade was posted, I sent my professor this e-mail. (Please keep in mind that this professor and I had formed a friendly relationship. Bonding over the fact that we both have toddlers and partners who travel).
On Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 10:19 PM, Melvi > wrote:
Good Evening Professor!!
Well, I made it!! I was so excited when I saw my score I almost cried…. Somehow, by the grace of all the Gods, I got through this course. I need you to know that I have never, ever considered myself a smart individual. I struggled with school my whole life, and my first and second go around at college I was mediocre at best. I’ve never felt more proud and more accomplished than I have after taking this course. Even though it was an online course I felt like I got more one on one teaching/training/feedback than I ever have before in my college career. The way you organized the class, put so much thought and detail into every module and assignment, and your quick and constructive feedback. It was so easy to get passionate about these people and their stories.
I don’t think I would’ve done as well if I had another professor, honestly. It also helped me get through hard weeks knowing you are a mother, a full-time professional and have all kinds of cool things like grants, documentaries, and books that you are working on. It really inspired me to keep on working towards my goals and my dreams. Even when things aren’t going smoothly, the toddler is sick, the husband is traveling, and my mental sanity is on the brink of a meltdown it is comforting knowing that women like you exist in the world and that I’m not the only one who wants it “all.”
Thank you for such a wonderful semester and for all of your help and support.
I’m totally going to write a short story some day on Mary Mallon, and I will continue to bore my family and friends over the holidays with my epidemic knowledge. Have a wonderful holiday, and I hope the new year finds you and your family well.
Below is the response that got me all choked up from my professor, and will be read and reread on days when I’m not feeling very good about myself or feeling less than smart.
On Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 8:37 AM, bjohnson > wrote:
This email absolutely made my week. And here is a secret–when I have my worst days–the days when I’m not sure it will all hang together and I’ll make it to the other side, I open a folder where I keep these emails and I read them. They remind me that sometimes it works, and sometimes it is everything we dream it can be and it can be that way again if I just push through…
I have to tell you, from this side of the class, I’m baffled that you’ve had a difficult time in other courses or even had mediocre performances. My perception of you is that you are sharp as a tack, read material closely, asked intelligent questions, and have great critical thinking skills. To me, you are the college student professors wish for– you are willing to work hard, and can do so even with significant obstacles. You have the capacity to actually share our excitement about the material. If you decide to go to graduate school, I will absolutely write you a recommendation letter. I’d be proud to have you in my program.
Thank YOU for making this semester more pleasant and exciting for me. It is a gift that extends both ways. Next semester I’ll be “off” finishing my various projects because I’m due with my second child in April. I get gestational diabetes when I’m pregnant so I was also balancing eating every two hours and taking my blood sugars 4 times daily. It really makes online courses the best fit for me right now, since I can manage all that and it doesn’t disrupt the class. 🙂
I’m so proud of us, Melvi! And just think– our kids will see us fighting hard for our dreams. Is there any better example?
I’m going to frame this e-mail and put it up in my writing room, as a reminder to myself on my worst days that I’m not as dumb as my demons make me think I am. Please, if you’ve made it this far; thank someone today. Shoot someone an e-mail, a text, a phone call or even a hand written note (my favorite) to someone who deserves to know that their thoughtful and generous heart saved you, inspired you or helped you grow. Let them know that their hard work and their words made you want to be a better person.
Happy Monday Folks!