My professor saw me cry and now she’s my mom

Annelise Ellingboe, Unprofessional Young Professional

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Amidst midterms and thesis proposals, I was feeling especially stressed and unprepared for the week. I went into my professor’s office hours in hopes of asking for just one measly extension but came out with so much more. 

As we started talking, I could feel something rising inside of me, and I couldn’t hold it back. “I think things are just… piling up… a little… and…” I tried not to, but it was too late. I cried like a big huge baby.

My professor’s face contorted into a pained smile and she said, “Don’t worry. It’ll all get done,” as she passed me the box of off-brand Kleenex. I wiped my eyes with the sandpapery tissue and awkwardly tried to avoid letting on how much snot I was trying not to let out of my nose. When I finally looked up, I knew something had changed. Suddenly, ensconced in the glow of the fluorescent lights, my professor had transformed from just my teacher and mentor into something new: My School Mom. 

I knew that anything I needed from now on, I could talk with her about. Her office had transformed from a cluttered hole in the wall to the room equivalent of Mom’s Purse. Tea, candy, cough drops, the book you’re looking for — it’s all there.

Even though some people might not understand it, I know other people have found their school moms.

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