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Professing Through the Eyes of a Parent

Posted: September 12, 2013Dr. Paula Brown-Weinstock

I have been a college professor for over twenty years. I absolutely love my job; I am blessed to meet over 200 new students every fall.  When I walk into the classroom on the first day of each new semester, I am reminded of my first day of college as I see myself in each one of my students. However, this year was different. On August 21, my perception of my students and my perspective as a professor changed forever; I dropped my oldest daughter off at Syracuse University for her first year of college.  This year when I walked into my classroom to meet my new students, I did not see myself sitting in those seats – I saw my daughter Rachel.

My perception of my students started altering the moment we drove onto SU’s campus. This was where my “baby” was going to be living for the next four years. Who was going to take care of her? As I was helping her set up her room I realized that for the first time ever, I was leaving my daughter in the hands of strangers. “The professor” and “the mom” in me began to have a conversation that went something like this: Professor: “She’s a college student now, she will be 18 in two days, it’s time for her to become independent and  learn how to stand on her own.”  Mom: “But that’s my baby, my pride and joy.”  That day I realized that the students I would soon be meeting at FM were not just “my” students, they are someone’s baby, someone’s pride and joy.  

While I know that I have always treated my students with respect and care, I feel an added level of care and compassion towards them this semester. Knowing that my daughter is away from home for the first time and learning not only the course material but how to live on her own in a community of strangers, I hope that her professors will be a little extra patient, understanding, flexible, and kind to her during this time of transition.  Whether she is struggling with the coursework or with fitting in, whether she simply can’t remember her password or is just missing her family, I hope that there is someone at Syracuse University who will be there to offer her a helping hand, share a warm smile, or just lend her an ear. I want them to get to know her personally, and help her grow and discover and reach her potential. I need them to “fill in” for us, to become her SU family and treat her like she is one of their own.  They are her bridge as she goes from being my child to a young adult, standing on her own.

This professor wants all of you moms and dads out there to know that we, at FM, will open our arms and welcome your child into our family.  We will be here to help your child discover his/her passions and potentials both in and out of the classroom, to encourage him/her when having desires to quit, and to help celebrate his/her accomplishments.  It is with honor that we welcome your child into our family and help him/her cross the bridge into adulthood.

Dr. Paula Brown-Weinstock is Associate Professor of Psychology at FM.


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