Calendars are being carefully dated with assignments, fresh notebooks are being marked with color-coordinated pens, and books (after being retrieved from the bookstore’s lengthy lines) are being expertly highlighted. The excitement of a new semester brings the glorious feeling of a clean slate and the opportunity to erase any missteps or mistakes of your past semester. This time, you think to yourself, I will earn A’s in all my classes, stay on top of my readings, and certainly not spend hours cramming chapters of material into my head the night before a test.
Before your meticulously organized planner becomes a terrifying black hole of scrawled notes written by your panicking brain realizing the encroaching due dates of assignments you forgot or exams you did not start studying for, and before the glimmer of a fresh new semester fades into the heart-pounding panic of whether or not you will manage to scrape by with a C in your hardest course, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the opportunity we have ahead of us.
As we start Week 3 of classes, the lightness of syllabus week is just a glimmer of sunshine in our rearview mirrors. It may feel as if the heaviness of the semester is already descending with work quickly piling up and due dates flagging every day of your calendar. However, as I sat in my first week of classes this semester, I was truly in awe of the professors teaching each of my courses.
Most days it is easy to take our professors for granted. We sit, minds wandering to far away places, computers clicking to emails, online shopping, phone screens lighting up. The wealth of knowledge and experience our professors have may glide right over our heads if we are not cognizant of the magnitude of the opportunity we have before us. Tulane has some of the most qualified, caring, creative, and experienced professors in the country, and as we struggle to wake up for that 9am class, we often forget that we have the privilege of learning from these great minds. Wrapped up in the bubble of our social lives, relationships, housing struggles, workout plans, internships, and futures, it is somehow easy to push aside the greatest reason of all that we are here: to learn.
My Finance professor spoke of her years of experience working as Head of Private Client Trust for J.P. Morgan, her undergraduate education from Yale, and her graduate education at Northwestern. She stood before the room, humble and smiling, filled with happiness to be teaching at Tulane. She invited us all to come watch a movie related to the course and enjoy pizza at her house this semester.
I listened as my Management professor spoke about his years of experience being a manager for several large corporations. He looked at each of us, speaking about the future careers we would hold as managers.
Each professor was an expert in his or her field and each was exuding with genuine desire for us to learn as much as we could throughout the semester. I left my first days of classes excited not only for the fresh start this semester, but also for the days that would be challenging yet rewarding, led by professors who showed up every day eager to share some of their vast knowledge. My goals this semester shifted; instead of the promise of a perfect 4.00 GPA, I left with the resolution that I would show up to class always grateful for the opportunity before me.
Cover Photo: Ava Rose