It's remarkable how big of an impact professors can have

In summary, the professor introduced me to a new area of math and physics that I love. He has helped me develop professionally and personally a lot.
  • #1
johnqwertyful
397
14
I had a professor for a real analysis class that I really enjoyed. I was curious about his research. I asked him to do a senior thesis and in doing so, he introduced me to area of math/physics that I love (stochastic dynamics, as applied to quantum/stat mech). It was an amazing experience looking back. We met up frequently and just talked. We talked about whatever we wanted to talk about. Granted, it was aimed at a point, but sometimes he would just teach me things he thought were important. We talked one time for 3 to 4 hours (always at least 1 or 2 hours). Just about math, science, philosophy, etc. I have learned so much from this guy. He is crazy smart, not only in science and math, but in philosophy and life as well.

He trusted me, and actually asked me to lecture at a seminar HE goes to. I am an undergraduate and these were graduate students and professors. He trusted me enough and gave me the experience, which was amazing. I did fine, and it was a great experience.

He's helped me develop so much professionally. There are so many little tidbits of information he gave me. I sometimes would come to him with random ideas or things I thought were cool from my math or physics classes. He would explain it to me in depth and I always got a good perspective from him. I remember once I had a passing idea, I brought it up and he lectured for like an hour and a half. He always fostered ideas and encouraged me to think and question.

The biggest thing he did though, was basically get me into grad school. I asked for a letter of rec and he did me one better. He has a friend who is working on what I want to, and long story short I should be going to graduate school and working with his friend. It's paid as well.

He gave me what I want to study, what area I want to go into. He taught me so much about math and science in general. He taught me about philosophy, life, academia, science (in the larger picture). He gave me the experience of the lecture. He got me into grad school. This guy helped me develop professionally and personally so much, it's truly remarkable.
 
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  • #2
Such an awesome professor and person is probably a member of PF already. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
  • #3
This is great to hear. I'm assuming you're an undergrad in the US. I recently got back from a big and costly international conference (as a grad student) and was shocked at the amount of sophomores, juniors and seniors attending among the slew of post-docs, grad students and faculty there.

As an outsider (did my undergrad in Europe), it looks like professors in the US put a great deal of trust in their students and give them lots of "outside the box" opportunities to advance and learn, get involved in real research, etc. I didn't have this opportunity as an undergrad and only got to do research when my senior thesis project came around. Prior to that, my profs always seemed reluctant/too busy to take time from their research/lecturing/grant-fishing to bring an undergrad up to speed to do something productive. I would never imagine them sending undergrads to an int'l conference/workshop on their own grants' dime either.

I urge any US students reading this to take full advantage of the opportunities you have available, they are awesome.
 
  • #4
Hey johnqwertyful (PF should get an addon that finishes nicknames for us in a thread. For example, instead of having to copy paste that weird name, I would have written "john", clicked tab and it would fill the qwertyful).

Anyway, john, that sounds absolutely amazing. You sound like a great student as well, so maybe if it wasn't that professor, it would have been another one, I don't know. Either way, you should send him a "thank you" letter, I'm sure he'll enjoy reading/receiving it!
 
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  • #5


I can definitely attest to the power and influence of professors in shaping our academic and professional paths. It sounds like you had a truly remarkable experience with your professor, and I can see how his guidance and mentorship have had a significant impact on your development as a scientist and as an individual.

It is wonderful to hear that he not only introduced you to a new area of research that you love, but also took the time to engage with you in deep discussions about a wide range of topics. This kind of mentorship goes beyond just teaching academic material, but also fosters critical thinking and encourages curiosity and exploration.

I am also impressed by his trust in you and his willingness to give you opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge, such as lecturing at a seminar and connecting you with his friend for graduate school. These experiences will undoubtedly be valuable as you continue your academic and professional journey.

It is clear that your professor not only excels in his field of expertise, but also possesses a passion for teaching and mentoring. This is a reminder of the important role that professors play in shaping the next generation of scientists and thinkers. I hope you will continue to carry on his legacy and inspire others as he has inspired you.
 

Related to It's remarkable how big of an impact professors can have

1. How do professors have such a big impact on their students?

Professors have a big impact on their students through their teaching methods, mentorship, and guidance. They have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in their field, and they use this to inspire and challenge their students to reach their full potential.

2. Can professors have a positive impact on students' academic performance?

Yes, professors can have a significant influence on students' academic performance. By providing engaging lectures, constructive feedback, and individualized support, professors can motivate students to excel academically.

3. In what ways can professors impact students' personal growth?

Professors can have a profound impact on students' personal growth by serving as role models, offering guidance and support, and encouraging critical thinking and self-reflection. Through their mentorship, professors can help students develop important skills such as time management, communication, and problem-solving.

4. Do professors only have an impact on students during their academic years?

No, professors can have a lasting impact on students that extends beyond their academic years. The lessons and skills learned from professors can continue to influence students' personal and professional development long after they graduate.

5. How can students make the most out of their interactions with professors?

To make the most out of their interactions with professors, students should actively participate in class, seek out opportunities for one-on-one discussions, and take advantage of office hours. It's also important for students to approach their professors with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.

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