Two ads with my name in them came out this week in the Oklahoma City Gazette and Edmond Life & Leisure, and the honor for me was being considered a "mentor" by this former student and others. I knew they were scheduled, and we'd approved the ad content ahead of time, but the idea of being a mentor is still sinking in. I'm just a professor trying to do my job with passion, helping students to learn and to grab their versions of success.
The best students are not defined by grades. They excel because they are serious about learning, because they have passion, because they come to class, because they have a sense of humor, because they take responsibility for their actions, because they're not afraid to make mistakes, because they have discipline to stick to tasks, because they are not afraid of hard work, because they are curious, because they will take risks.
Many of my best students are married, or are single parents, or are veterans, or hold more than one job. Most of them are paying their own way and most of them commute in between all of the rest of life. They earn their educations.
To be considered a mentor to such people is an honor. Good students matter.