Taylor’s community-focused learning offers students the chance to create fellowship with professors that enables flourishing in both their learning and personal lives.
During college, students meet new friends and cross paths with people that have a significant effect on their journey. As underclassmen become familiar with Taylor, cultivating mentorship relationships with professors allows them to acclimate to a new academic environment and inspires a love for knowledge.
“It’s really helped me adjust to being at Taylor when I first got there… and I think it can also be helpful because a professor has been where you’ve been,” senior Abbey Suess said.
Everyone has to start somewhere when they begin their career, and most of the time, people need help as they step into professional spaces. Professors are a direct resource for students seeking knowledge applicable to their passions.
As students pursue a deeper understanding of their major, common interests can build a bridge for students and professors to connect. At Taylor, students and professors often have a shared foundation of faith
Mentorship can facilitate intellectual discussion and questions to broaden critical thinking. Professors might not always have the answers, but they are always willing to listen.
“It could look like grabbing lunch with them at the Student Center to talk about a deep theological topic,” Sarah Malak (’22) said. “It could also mean that they’re there for you. An example of many would be that when I found out that my parents couldn’t come to my graduation from Egypt, I told Dr. Diller (professor of philosophy and religion), and both him and his amazing wife Gwen stepped in as my parents that weekend, and I will forever be grateful for that.”
Having a mentorship with professors is not only valuable in college, but their guidance can provide confidence in personal lives and jobs post-college.
By coming alongside students, professors get the privilege to see how they thrive in their next phase in life.
“Mentors are extremely important for everyone,” Dr. Jeff Cramer, associate professor of computer science and engineering said. “Students would like to be mentored, but faculty members also want mentors.”
Through experiences based on a professor’s discipline, the networks they built can be passed on to students who are applying for internships or wanting to understand what their jobs are like.
While professors encourage students to pursue a love for learning, they are also role models for living out one’s faith.
In college, students are often beginning to understand what walking with the Lord looks like personally. This process is not always easy.
“I feel like there’s a pressure that I need to always be growing in my faith and with my professors because they walk through so much,” Suess said. “The honesty that I’ve experienced is that faith isn’t always linear.”
No matter what season of life students are in, professors can provide a safe space for them to draw closer to God — no one has to do college alone.
Making that first step to create a mentorship with a professor might seem intimidating at first, but professors are there for students to reach out to them.
“Let it happen naturally, but be intentional,” Malak said.
After the initial meeting, it can hopefully feel easier to connect. Not only does having a mentorship make class more engaging, but it also makes the content more meaningful.
Ask professors for coffee or go during office hours to talk about topics in detail.
“For students, even if it’s scary, try to get to know your professors,” Cramer said. “To faculty members, always be yourself, don’t try to be something you are not.”
Connections have a huge impact on what college will look like, so finding someone to look to for wisdom can help make this path easier to walk.
The time at college is short, but connections with professors provide endless direction for the future.