September 16, 2020

Dear Professors: A Letter from your Student.


My name’s Rebecca.

I’m 28-years-old and a student in your class.

We may never have met, but I attend your lectures and look up to you.

Maybe you’ve seen me.

I wear glasses, am quiet-spoken, and sit close to the front so I can see the board.

Sometimes I raise my hand. Other days, I can’t seem to quiet my anxiety and remain silent.

I’m listening though. I read everything you assign and look up vocabulary words I don’t know—which are many.

I love your course.

I love school.

I want to be like you.

I want to be a professor one day so I can live at the library, encourage students to break the glass ceiling, and help make this world a little bit better.

I know we have likely never spoken, but I want you to know some things about me that I’ve never shared.

My adverse childhood experience score is eight.

I’m the adult child of an alcoholic.

I have a disorganized attachment style.

I keep going to school even though my family discourages it.

I struggle with quiet borderline personality disorder, and I don’t want anyone to know.

I’m emotional, struggling to balance multiple plates, and working on this Ph.D. while simultaneously working full-time and battling a mental health disorder that kills 10 percent of individuals who suffer from it.

I keep going to school because I want a family, and it’s at school where I find this.

I never watched schoolhouse rock as a child, but I did attend AA meetings. I still don’t understand how a bill is passed, but I’ve read a lot of the Big Book.

I don’t have the greatest internet connection, but I sit outside in the California smoke and try my best to attend your class.

When I finish this 35-hour workweek and writing my papers, I’ll look at getting better internet.

I smile a lot, am a forever-learner, and write research ideas on the back of napkins while eating dinner.

I may just be another student in your class, but I want you to know my story.

I left home seven years ago and haven’t returned.

I grew up in chaos and continue to struggle, but I want to go to school.

You may never get it, but please know that I am giving it my all and will continue to do so.

I love school, and even though my family won’t be there, I will one day graduate with a Ph.D.

It’s my dream to be like you.

I may just need a little help in getting there.


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