This spring, I took a graduate class (yes, during my first year of teaching) from a professor who has been a major mentor for me. This professor has always pushed me to work my hardest. A few years ago, I was in her office talking to her about teaching. It was then that she told me how she knew I would contact her in a few years about graduate school. I didn’t believe her, but…she was right. A few weeks into the class, I emailed her and asked if I could schedule an appointment to talk to her about graduate school because I was frustrated….VERY frustrated. She emailed me back saying how relived she was that I came to this conclusion and we met. Long story short, I decided right then and there that I needed to go on to grad school.
During this class she pushed me more than she had ever done. As my final project, I was to write a literature review (15 to 20 pages long- sort of a mini-thesis) on a behavior related topic and prepare a presentation on it to give to the class on the last class meeting. Struggling with a topic, and writing, I went in for an office visit. She explained the project to me more, handed me a binder on how to write a literature review and sent me on my way. I was frustrated and exhausted, but managed to struggle through the project more. After a little more research, it clicked and I took off on the writing and researching process.
In March, this professor emailed me and told me to submit a proposal to present my paper as a poster session at a national behavior conference. Well, I did it. The result: A few days ago I got this email saying that my proposal has been accepted, but not exactly as a poster session. It was accepted as a lecture. This will be the first time I will ever fly solo at presenting at a conference, as well as the first time I will be doing this at a NATIONAL conference. It will be quite intimidating and a lot of work, but it will be a great experience. I am looking forward to it. Not only will I get my work out there, but I will also have the opportunity to network with people who have the same views as me. It should be an eye opening experience and I will surely be grateful for it!
I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to have this professor/mentor in my life. She is not only pushing me to do things that I have never thought was possible, but also believes in me when I do not. I count myself very fortunate to have such a great mentor in my life. In the end I am grateful, so very grateful, for this mentor, as well as the ability to have these experiences so early in my career.