In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, Jamie Jacobsen ('18) shared a letter to a professor who changed her life during her time at The Cliff.
I remember my first class with you so clearly. I was wondering then if I really had what it took to be an English major. Your expectations were high, and I was just a freshman, still new to the college scene. While my friends were knocking out their introductory courses, I was working feverishly on your essays late into the night/early into the morning. Each time I turned one in, I dreaded the inevitable conversation about revisions and how I could improve as a writer. Can’t you just let me be average? I asked you once out of frustration. You laughed.
Over the years, you, more than anyone else, ensured that I would be able to achieve my goal of double-majoring. You accommodated my busy schedule, agreeing to instruct me in independent studies. I am so grateful that you put up with me on such a regular basis. I don’t know how many papers, quizzes, and in-class essays I have written over the years in your classes (A lot.) I do know, though, how much I have grown as a writer due to your guidance.
Writing is a difficult process. It takes an immense amount of courage to own one’s words — to be willing to not only explain concepts, but to question them, and to be brave enough to bring new perspectives to light. You encouraged me time and time again to be a “shark” — to attack my subject matter, never backing down. You allowed me to write about what I am passionate about, and assisted me in analyzing my favorite series, even though you have never read the Harry Potter books yourself. You have supported me as I have taken responsibility for not only my writings, but for myself as I have transitioned into adulthood during college.
I could write so much more, but I am honestly nervous that you are grading me on this letter as you read it, looking for places that I can make improvements...my topic sentences probably aren’t great (sorry!) but luckily for me, I don’t need to worry about quote sandwiches in this piece. Bottom line: you have never stopped pushing me to become a better writer, runner, and person. I cannot thank you (and your family) enough for all that you have done for me in the last four years.
Gratefully and Respectfully Yours,