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I write with no particular theme in mind, because I am random like that.

Mar
19 2010

Hello, professor!

Damn, I never did realize how much I could actually miss her.

Prof walked into the office yesterday. (I work in a business facility in the basement of my alma mater’s campus.)

I heard her before I actually got to see her (because she and my co-worker boss – also an ex-student – exchanged greetings). I whirled around upon hearing that all too familiar voice, and it took me about five seconds before I actually recognized her.

Gosh, does she look different!

It’s about a year since I took her course in my final semester. She taught Asia Pacific Business, which concentrates on the latest business developments and trends in Asia – in particular, the recent boom in integrated resorts in Macau and Singapore. A really tough course, but rather interesting.

Demanding as she was, I do sense a fair amount of motherly-like love and concern from her. Especially during the 4 day, 3 night class trip to Macau when my heart condition acted up suddenly and I had to be flown back to Singapore as a precautionary measure. Troublesome as it was, she always ensured that there was someone with me. Plus, she constantly asked me how I was feeling, which was really appreciated.

I can still vividly recall having to sign a pseudo-indemnity ‘form’ upon my departure back to Singapore. (I flew back on my own eventually because I didn’t wanted to trouble the TAs or her.)

There was no actual indemnity form for such a case, so she had a hand-write one on the spot. In the middle of the streets of Macau no less, while the TAs and myself stood around and laughed at the situation.

Even after the final exams ended, she met my project group members and myself for a one-hour long chat where she asked us about our future plans, and even invited us to join her on the subsequent BSMs she was organizing.

I haven’t seen her since then … until yesterday.

She is still as open as she used to be – always available to hang out with her students and talk nineteen to the dozen. She stood around our (my co-worker boss and me) cubicles and chatted with us for almost fifteen minutes, updating us on her recent happenings and asking us about ours. Prior to her departure, she invited us for lunch one day so that we could all catch up.

It felt like last year all over again. A strange, warm and fuzzy feeling … minus the project deadlines and stress.

Strangely, I don’t recall the rest of my coursemates feeling the same way as I do about Prof. During that semester, it was complaints galore – from gender bias, students not knowing her requirements, occasionally contradicting herself, tough projects and yadda yadda.

I admit, I was one of those students who went along with the ‘not knowing her requirements’ complaint, because she does have pretty high expectations which she doesn’t really communicate fully. (Which come to think of it – is good for us. It challenges us to do the best we can since after all, we won’t be spoon-fed once we leave school to work, don’t we?)

During that semester, I remembered deeming Asia Pacific Business as one of my most ‘dangerous’ courses because my grades could swing anywhere. I can work my arse off on a project and still get less than a ‘B’. Frustrating as the grades aspect was, I cannot deny that it was one of the more interesting courses I’ve taken.

Since graduating, I kind of missed her.

Well, it’s kind of easy when you’re no longer a student – people would say. But even as a student in her course back then, my impressions of her were at least neutral.

She is a professor that is extremely passionate when she speaks, and you can tell she really knows her stuff. It helped a lot that she organized loads of industry talks, which wasn’t easy as it required loads of logistics and um, persuasion. (It takes a lot to get the CEO of some bigshot company to come down to speak to a bunch of students!)

Yet, she managed to pull it off. Unfortunately, without much credit from her students. But still.

Not to mention the logistics for the field trip – ensuring all the students got their flights, booking of hotel rooms, arranging tours and talks with the various integrated resorts in Macau. That, on top of her attempts at psyching the students up for the trip in the weeks preceding it.

Plus, I miss how she addresses her students as ‘peeps’ and ‘folks’ during class time.

Kudos to the (possibly the most misunderstood) professor.

And I look forward to the next time we get to meet. I can’t wait to hold an animated discussion about Resorts World Sentosa (which opened last month) with her.

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2 Comments

  • 21 Mar 2010
    6:52 PM

    Jonna

    I’m envious! Specialized teachers/professors in my schools have always been sort of aloof, holier-than-thou, “we’re above you” variety. I’d love to have had a professor like yours.

    I agree, when you don’t know what’s expected of you, you’ll push yourself much, much harder. Life doesn’t tell you what to do and how to do it in every situation, does it? I’d say her attitude on that was correct. :)

  • 23 Mar 2010
    7:32 PM

    Charlie

    I had a favourite too, though they weren’t like yours at all, their subject was a lot less demanding so they were liked by everyone. And you do miss teachers who make a lasting impression.

    It’s nice you got to see her after a time away, it helps any awkwardness between the transition of student to “peer”.

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