My father and I had two very different college experiences. Admittedly, he was a college student in the ’70s and went to school in New York when he lived in Brooklyn; but it wasn’t the location or decade, it was something else.
At a recent honor society induction my dad was surprised to learn that Dr. Jonathan Millen, chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism, knew who I was. This confused me slightly. I had been in a class with Dr. Millen and often said “hi” to him in the hallway.
It turns out when my father went to college the professors were a bit more distant. They didn’t really create any personal relationships with the students. That was unfortunate, I thought. I’ve had Rider professors tell me about how they used to go for drinks with students back when the drinking age was 18.
One of the best things about Rider, and what I am so grateful for, is the professors. I came in as a scared freshman who tried not to make too much noise during class, but I’m leaving as a senior who has garnered the attention of my professors.
It is a great feeling to stand in the hall in the Fine Arts building and say “hi” to Dr. Katherine Maynard, my English adviser, or Dr. Yun Xia, whom I’ve never even taken a class with. Even a political science professor whom I only had one class with back in spring of my freshman year, is friendly with me: Whenever I see Dr. Harvey Kornberg around campus, he always asks me how I’m doing or salutes me when I wear my army coat.
This closeness with professors is something I took for granted because Rider is such a small school. I can call professors on their cell phones if I need to and I am always welcome in their offices. Rider and its faculty have spoiled me rotten. Like an only child, I have become used to people knowing my face and I am afraid to let that attention go.
I appreciate all of the listening ears I had during my four years here. Whether I wanted to talk about what classes to take, what internship to try for or whether my GRE score was good enough, I could talk with any number of professors. I never felt lost, and I hope many students in years to come also reach out to the faculty here because they were always willing to help me. And that is what made my time at Rider incredibly special.
Next year I will be at graduate school, and I can’t help but wonder if I will receive the same personal attention. I know the experience will be different, not necessarily worse or better, but it definitely won’t be the same as it was at Rider.
Laura Mortkowitz was the Executive Editor for The Rider News.