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A letter to my professors

| Tuesday, August 25, 2020

I have coronavirus. If you’re one of the five professors I have this semester, you already know that. If you’re one of the five professors I have this semester, you have also been one of the kindest, most understanding and flexible people for me during this time. I had a bad week, full of moments where I was gasping for breath, too tired to move and unable to swallow from the pain in my head and throat. You did everything in your power to make sure all I had to focus on was rest and recovery, telling me not to worry about daily assignments, textbook readings or Zooming into class, a godsend on days when it was too hard to even sit up in bed. Some of you sent me your personal cell numbers and told me to call any time, day or night, if I needed it. Several of you offered to personally bring me food or supplies, and one of you even offered to drive me to the hospital, if it came to that.

When you accepted a position at Notre Dame, I can’t imagine you thought the job title came with an obligation to take care of your students in sickness and in health. You shouldn’t have to worry about me, wonder if I have enough food or hope you don’t hear that I’m in the hospital. I know the stress must weigh on you as heavily as it weighs on us, your students, if not more so. You would have every right to fulfill your duty as a professor, teach the syllabus and leave it at that.

But you haven’t. The care and sympathy I have been shown by you, strangers whom I met two weeks ago, has been overwhelming. You have shown me the type of mentor I would want to be, one that cares about the hearts and bodies of their students, not just their minds. This year has been one of uncertainty, fear and sadness, but you have shown me how the kindness of one person can make all the difference in the world of another. I know it has for me.


Emma Shea


Aug. 22

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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