Barney: Thank You to My U Professors, My Final Advice

By Autumn Barney

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I can’t believe this is my last article. I have enjoyed writing for this wonderful paper. But, next semester is my last semester and I need to focus on applying to grad schools. I wanted to use this opportunity to give my final advice to students everywhere. This advice got me through a tough three years. But, because of it I was able to not only make it through college as a single-mom, and take 18-24 credits a semester, but thrive as well. So, the best advice I can give any students is: get close to your professors.

The professors at the U have been incredible. I have built life-long relationships with some of the most intelligent and caring people I’ve ever met. Because I took the time to talk and listen to my professors, I have been successful, I have gained so much knowledge, I have learned life lessons and I have gained support.

I set out with a goal to get two bachelors degrees in fewer than three years. In spring, it will have been two and a half years, and I am graduating with both. I am not saying this to brag in any way. I’m saying this because I would not have been able to accomplish this without the professors I’ve been lucky enough to have. These past few years have been hard. I have gone through many personal hardships I wasn’t expecting. Many people told me, “It’s okay to take a break,” and, “Stop pushing so hard.” I decided my first semester of school to sit in the front row in every class, to introduce myself to every professor, to ask questions about things I didn’t understand and to go to class every day.

My first semester I didn’t miss one day of any classes. But, after an unexpected personal issue and some of the hardest days of my life, second semester wasn’t so easy. I decided to open up to my professors about what was going on. To my surprise, all but one of them was not only understanding, but compassionate. This may sound silly, but I realized, “Wow, my professors are people too.”

For some reason, trials kept coming. But my luck continued as I kept communicating with my professors. All my professors were kind. Even if they didn’t “give” me what I was asking for, or do what I thought I needed, they made time for me, and I studied with them during their office hours. Many times I couldn’t make it to their specified office hours, so they made outside hours to help me get prepared. They all wanted me to succeed. As cheesy as it sounds, they all believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. I worked hard, and because I built relationships with my professors, they really saw my efforts.

For my final article I wanted to take the time to say thank you. Thank you so much to every professor I’ve had the pleasure of learning from over the past couple years. I would name names, but there are so many, and I wouldn’t want to forget anyone. But, I won’t forget the kindness and understanding you have all shown me. I won’t forget the lessons I’ve learned in and out of the classroom. To every student, build relationships with your professors. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have conversations with them. They will teach you so much. Most of them truly care about your future. They can’t help you unless you ask. And if you do they will help. They’re willing and able because they’re people who have made careers around what you’re trying to be someday. Go suck up every bit of knowledge they have to offer. I promise you won’t regret it.