One of the things that surprised me when starting my college experience was the difference in expectations in professors compared to high school teachers. That being said it makes the classroom, especially with a smaller school like CUA, feel like a discussion among peers, rather than just being lectured at constantly. I have found this especially true for those teachers within your major’s department, at least at CUA. Additionally, you may have the same professor multiple times throughout your college career and they remember.
That being said the best professor I have had while at Catholic would have to be Justin
Garrison, a political science professor that I had my first semester freshman year for my American politics course. A young guy by most college professor standards, Dr. Garrison fancied himself a scholar of Ronald Reagan and loved to cite random knowledge of our 40th president during his lectures. Considering Dr. Garrison’s class was the first college course that I ever attended, it’s pretty amazing that he has stayed with me as my all-time favorite professor, but his lectures were kind of perfect. He made something that most of us had learned about over and over again for years into the most interesting and engaging subject ever. But what’s more, he did more than just make the material exciting he made it fun. I always walked out of his classes with a new perspective and a good laugh, which to me is a sign that you are succeeding as a molder of minds.
However, Dr. Garrison did more than just make something that I would normally find boring appealing for me, he taught me how to be a college student as well. Going into his class, I thought I knew what it meant to write a paper, but quickly found that I was really just silly for thinking that I had all the answers as a college freshman. Dr. Garrison’s first paper came back and I had gotten a C, which I was not ok with because that was my thing, I was the good writer and now I had gotten a C on my first college paper. But Garrison didn’t just hand me my grade with a few hastily written notes and send me on my way. Rather, he emailed me and set up an appointment and went line by line showing me how close I was from making that C into an A. He cared, like so many college professors do, that I could be the best I could be. Frankly I find this amazing because of the sheer amount of students they have in a given semester, let alone a full calendar year. Needless to say I followed his suggestions and my writing improved, and the very next paper I got that A.
Every semester since I have looked for him when picking my classes for my politics minor, with the hopes he is teaching one that fits so that I can again be in one of his courses. I was able take him again last semester, this time for political theory, and it was every bit as good as the first time. Unfortunately Dr. Garrison no longer teaches at CUA which truthfully is a shame because he was the man. However, I honestly could have written this same article about a number of professors I have had along the way, and meant every word as honestly as I have meant it when referring to my former politics professor. Dr. Born, Mr. Brown, Dr. McKenna, etc. These people helped shape me into the student I am now through the love of their subjects and their students. It’s really weird for me to think back on myself from then, how different I am now, how much I’ve grown up. But I would not be the man I am today were it not for these professors so to them I say thank you.