When I was trying to decide which college to go to during my junior and senior year of high school, one of the main reasons people said I should go to Northwestern was because it’s a small school, I would have small classes and the professors would actually know who I was. This sounded great to me at the time and it contributed a lot to why I chose to go here, but I didn’t realize just how important this would be to me. I don’t think I even fully appreciated the small community of Northwestern until this year.
Something you should know about me is that I am a wallflower. I don’t like having attention drawn to me and I usually avoid doing anything that will make me stand out. I don’t like talking in class and my freshman year I was always terrified to go to professors’ offices and talk to them one-on-one. If I had gone to a giant school where all my classes would have been in lecture halls, I probably never would have been noticed by professors. They maybe wouldn’t have even known my name.
But at Northwestern, my professors know me—and not just my name—they truly know me. This year it hit me: I am at a place where a wallflower like myself can be noticed and known. This is what gets me excited about going to class; it’s what makes me love being at this school. The times my professors look at me when they refer to my favorite authors. The times that I share my thoughts in front of the class and they smile because they truly appreciate hearing what I have to say. The times they stop me after class to ask me my opinion about something. That I am more than just another student. They show me that I am a unique individual who adds something special to the class.
I said earlier that during my freshman year I was terrified to go to my professors’ offices, but now I actually enjoy it. I love stepping into their space, letting my eyes roam across their bookshelves as they answer my questions. In those moments, it becomes more than just a professor answering a question. It becomes a conversation between two people who care about what the other person has to say on a subject matter that they are both passionate about. It becomes a conversation of smiles and laughter instead of twists of stomach and nerves.
Because this is a place to be known.