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Community with AQ Faculty and Staff

One of the greatest aspects of going to a small school like Aquinas is the relationship that can be built between students and the faculty and staff.  I admire a lot of the professors and staff members who I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with.  The community that is easily fostered from a small school environment makes it so even when you’re not regularly interacting with a professor or staff member, they still remember you after time apart.  Just this past week, I have had two wonderful interactions with a faculty and staff member at Aquinas.

I first met writing professor, Pamela Dail-Whiting, last fall semester.  I was enrolled in her Creative Writing I class.  Throughout the semester she was supportive and affirming to all of her students and their work.  She was great at acknowledging people in their strengths and challenging them to face their weaknesses.  It’s because of Pamela that I decided to become a writing minor and why I’m currently enrolled in her Creative Writing II class.  After the first class of Creative Writing II, she said to me, “Claire, I’m so glad to have you back in class!  I’m excited!  It’s good to see you!”  It’s been over a year since I last had a conversation of quality with her and she’s still able to recall my name and pieces of work I wrote in Creative Writing.

The director of the Writing Center is Julie Bevins. Even though this is my second year being involved in the Writing Center, I have only occasionally talked with Julie one on one.  However, whenever I see her she’s always asking me about what I’m doing and how I am.  After I’ve given her my life updates she always asks what she can do.  She genuinely wants to know how she can better help you and your pursuit of your goals.  I feel like every time I’m leaving her she says, “let me know how I can help!” and she truly means it.  This week when I was working in the Writing Center, she started a casual conversation with me that turned into a solid 20 minute discussion about what I’m doing in my senior year at Aquinas and what I want to do after.  Throughout this conversation, multiple times she suggested ways she can help or asked me questions about where I might need assistance. She made me feel like I’m not alone, and she’s great at making others feel like they can do and handle everything they have going on.

These brief interactions with professors and staff members make Aquinas feel safe and comfortable.  I appreciate being able to attend a school where I can a bond with people I look up to and it is not always focused in the classroom.  Because of the positive relationships I have with my professors and staff members, I feel like I’m not just attending school.  I’m being welcomed into a community that exists outside the classroom and that will last even after I graduate and leave.

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