The other day I had the opportunity to talk to an old professor of mine and let her know how much her class meant to me. In high school I was a straight-A student, but I never studied. I never really put forth any effort because I just “got” things. And it was boring, to say the least. I even tried joint-enrollment in the hopes that it would bring a challenge to the table, but I went to a small community college here, and it still felt like high school - the classes were too easy, and nothing was a challenge. I wrote papers the night before they were due, never studied, and still had a 4.0. Then, my last semester, I had her class, and it was a challenge. I still ended up with an A, but it was an A that I actually worked for, and it was an A I was actually proud of.
I watched half the class drop at midterms, and I listened to students go on about how they hated her class. I knew that she wasn’t trying to be a hard-ass, but that she was trying to prepare students for what college is really like and not hold our hands and spoon-feed us.
Anyway, when I was able to tell her that she was one of the more meaningful professors/teachers in my academic career, I could tell it meant a lot to her. She went on about how she teaches in the hopes that she can give her students the critical thinking skills and tools they’ll need to move on to truly higher education, and that if she could just help one student a semester, it’d be worth it. She told me how she always hears the negative comments about her class, and how it’s human nature to only voice your opinion when it’s negative.
I say all this to say, you never know how much you’ll impact someone with your encouragement and thanks. I’m trying to implement this mindset into my day-to-day life more often now, and just let people know how much I appreciate them. I know that when my supervisor signs off an email telling me that she’s thankful for all I do, it just makes things seem a little bit better, and when you go the extra mile for someone and they return their gratitude, it makes it all worth it.
And clearly that’s what Garnet’s comments have done for Greg here. Everyone needs to hear that they’re appreciated once in a while.