California

An Open Letter to my Students

I love you. This may come as a surprise since we’ve only known each other for a few weeks, and I still don’t know most of your names, but since the day we met—no even weeks before we met—I can’t stop thinking about you. You are the first thought I have when I wake up every morning. The things you write to me are the often the last thing I see before my eyes close involuntarily from exhaustion.

I find myself talking to you throughout my day: in the shower, the line at the grocery store, when I am supposed to be having quality time with my “real” friends. I wake up composing hour-long conversations to have with you that will keep you engaged—spend hours each day, thinking of new ways to hold your interest. Sometimes, in public, I’ll smile and a line I’ve been rehearsing for our next meeting audibly slips. My “friends” don’t understand. They tell me to let you go, that you are “just work” and I need balance. Balance! Did Rimbaud need balance? Cleopatra? Beethoven? Ours is a consuming affair that will last months . . . Or at least the semester.

Every morning, I wonder am I going to see you that day? How will our meeting go? Will you laugh at my jokes? Will we be able to connect over our conversation? Will my voice sound funny when I get excited? Do the runs in my tights show when I reach really high on the chalkboard?

I know that sometimes I bring up uncomfortable subjects when we talk, but it’s really because I don’t want our relationship to be shallow. I want us to consider the really important stuff in life. I want to inspire you to be the best person you can be. I want you to change the world. I know I’m not the only professor in your life. I also know that I not am your favorite, but I hope to change your mind. Make you care about communicating clearly just as much as I do.

I never though I could care for 100 people the way I do you. Each of you get a little piece of me. For the next six months, you will be at the forefront of my mind. Sometimes, I’ll even forget to make my son dinner because I am so engrossed in you. When that happens, he pours himself some cold cereal and retreats to his room. How can he compete against this spark, this beautiful obsession? He’s only one, while you, my dear students, are multitudes.

If this isn’t love, what is?

Passionately yours,

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