With just over 13 weeks of school left, I have less than 40 meetings remaining with TD. I never intentionally sought out a mentor, it evolved over time until it became this thing that is now so meaningful. For the record, I’m pretty sure when I started high school, finding a mentor wasn’t on my To Do list. But TD has been so much more than my advisor over the last four years. Always quick to remind me when I forget to sign in, and there to ask me questions about my break, school life, and family. I didn’t have to track him down during my freshman year, instead I was greeted simply with an email signed TD.
While I like to think I was prepared for high school (don’t we all?), I know there were many bumps a long the way that my advisor helped me navigate. From my first set of grades (meh) to my final drafts of my college essays, he always let me barge into his office, throw myself in his well-worn chair and discuss my latest issues (which says a lot because I normally loathe to talk about myself). I will always cherish this relationship with him and know that even after I graduate I can still expect to see the comforting emails with his signature large font and his characteristic and charming TD at the end. Discussions with TD allowed me to venture out of my shell and spurred me to start discussions with many other fascinating teachers. These conversations have covered territory beyond the classroom and have made my school experience so much more interesting.
It says a lot about my school when I often find myself spending multiple periods hanging out in teachers’ offices after our meeting is over (especially now that it’s senior spring). When I graduate, I will take their inspiring stories, humorous comments and insight with me when I venture forth with my life. Although we tend to think of our teachers or professors in a narrow way without an outside life, more often than not, they do some crazy cool things unrelated to their chosen discipline that are neat to hear about. While mentors can obviously be there for guiding you through thick and thin, which is incredibly important, I think taking the time to sit down and talk about something other than your school life takes away from the sometimes stressful college or high school experience and allows for time of reflection and learning that at times is more important than textbooks and curriculum.
When I head off to Tufts next year I hope that I can find many new TDs, especially as I try to feel out my new home without the comforting fallback of my family. Part of the reason I chose Tufts was the incredible relationships I saw between students and professors and the interactions they had on a daily basis. I know now the advantages that these relationships can give you, so the opportunity to form new ones is something I’m eager to pursue. Intentionally, this time.
Photo Credit: Martin Fisch (Flickr Creative Commons)