We have all had that week: two papers due, a job, drinking a whole pot of coffee in less than an hour and a growing to-do list. It isn’t the student experience we saw coming into college; no one really tells you how crushing school can be at times.
That said, many of us expected coming into school that our professors would be unresponsive and uninterested in student affairs. It is a common motivational tool that many teachers use for high school students: “I am only trying to prepare you for college; your professors won’t be that understanding.”
While there are certainly instructors who couldn’t care less about their students, we would argue they are the exception, not the norm. The reality at UNC-Chapel Hill is that professors are understanding of where their students are coming from.
Let’s clarify that there is a huge difference between understanding a student's situation and lowering class standards to accommodate them. A professor may fail a student but then ask them out to coffee to see why they didn't do well on the assignment — and that’s how it should be. College is inherently tough, and there is no way to change that without cutting at the core of higher education.
This exchange of empathy benefits both the professor and the student. The professor gets to challenge the student and engage one-on-one with a hopefully eager learner. The student gains a trusted confidant and receives the extra attention they may be too proud or downtrodden to seek on their own.