As a student, a course can be good because of the textbook, the topic, the time of day, or the amount of work. But for me, what makes or breaks a course is the professor. I’ve never had a professor that I hated, but I’ve started to figure out who teaches in a way I can best understand, and then I love taking classes. My professors have made my CMU experience what it is. Here are a few examples of professors I’ve had and how they have enriched my experience:

1. Editing papers if they are submitted a week early                                Writing papers is always stressful, and I often find myself second-guessing my topic and wondering if I’ve even understood the assignment. One of my professors tells all of his classes that if students submit their assignments a few days early, he will read them and make comments so that students can revise them before handing them in again.

2. Taking the biology class to the forest                                                               Sometimes it feels as though classes are disconnected from life outside the classroom and it’s hard to grasp how they fit together. For one of the biology classes I was in this semester where we were learning about ecology, our professor had us go outside and walk through the Assiniboine Forest together. This enabled the concepts of ecological succession and methods of environmental conservation to be more concrete.

3. Taking time to talk                                                                                            Before I came to CMU, I thought that professors were going to be scary academics who used long, complicated words and would only talk about school stuff. But my profs always take time to talk to their students. Every time I have a meeting with a prof, whether to ask a question about a paper or a course, the conversation is longer than I expect because they ask about my life and what I care about. I feel as though my profs know me beyond what I write in my assignments. They know what I care about and have helped me to grow as both a student and a person.

4. Bringing food to class                                                                                            Whether it’s the last class of the semester, their birthday, or paper writing season, when professors bring snacks to class it is always appreciated!

The professors at CMU care about their students and love what they teach. Every day, I feel so lucky to be able to sit in a classroom with these people who want to share with me the things that they are passionate about. It makes all the difference!