A college professor's Thanksgiving message to students is bringing people to tears

One of the fun surprises when you get to college is learning that most college professors are not nearly as scary as your high school teachers made them out to be. Some are tough, for sure, and there are always a few a-holes thrown into the mix, but for the most part professors are smart, compassionate human beings who care about both the academic performance and the personal well-being of their students.

But some take it even a step farther.

A college student on Twitter shared a pre-Thanksgiving e-mail she and her classmates received from a professor, and it's just the best example of real human-kindness.


It reads:

"Good morning. I know this has been a difficult time for a lot of you—some of you have had Covid, some of you are currently in quarantine, and some of you may not be able to go home for Thanksgiving as you have family members who are socially distancing.

I don't want anyone to feel alone at Thanksgiving, or to miss out on a homecooked family dinner, so I want to invite you to share my Thanksgiving dinner. I've talked with my kids and we would be happy to make extra portions of everything and drop it by your apartment or residence (as long as it's within a 20 mile radius of ____.) Since we're all socially distancing we would leave it outside and not have physical contact with you.

I truly want you to take me up on this offer if you are in town. As I mentioned, my kids have been socially distancing and will make the food wearing masks to reduce the likelihood of anything being spread.

My youngest daughter is vegan so there'll be a vegan option. Check out the menu below.

If you are socially distancing with a roommate or significant other, I'd be happy to drop off two or even three portions."

It appears from the poster's bio that this professor is from the University of Iowa. After the tweet went viral, people began asking if there was a way that they could donate to help fun her generous effort. Then came the follow-up: "She emailed me back and said she 'truly does not want donations' but is blown away from the response. :)"

The post prompted others to share supportive and generous messages from their own professors, lending further credence to the idea that teachers are genuinely the best people on the planet.




Most of the responses, though, were people who said the email made them teary, as it's a much-needed example of the kinds of people the world needs more of.

But the truth is there are a lot of people like this out there. My own daughter is a college student and any time she's been dealing with mental health struggles, her professors have not just been accommodating, but actively and personally supportive. She's had teachers share their own experiences with her and made sure she knew she wasn't alone. She's an A-student, and when her anxiety has spiked, she's been given the time and grace she needed to work through her struggles without sacrificing her grades. She's learned that being responsible and being healthy are not mutually exclusive, and that compassion is a key component of learning.

So yes, thank goodness for kind and generous teachers who don't need to go above and beyond their work with students in the classroom but so often do so anyway. That kind of caring will be remembered far longer than any facts or figures and will go a long way toward building the better world we all want to live in.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Photo by Adelin Preda on Unsplash

A multinational study found that bystanders intervene in 9 out of 10 public conflicts.

The recent news report of a woman on a Philadelphia train being raped while onlookers did nothing to stop it was shocking and horrible, without question. It also got people discussing the infamous "bystander effect," which has led people to believe—somewhat erroneously, as it turns out—that people aren't likely to intervene when they see someone being attacked in public. Stories like this uninterrupted train assault combined with a belief that bystanders rarely step in can easily lead people to feel like everything and everyone is horrible.

But according to the most recent research on the subject, the Philadelphia incident appears to be the exception, not the rule. A 2019 multinational study found that at least one bystander (but usually more) will actually intervene in 9 out of 10 public conflicts.

The idea that people in groups aren't likely to intervene stems largely from research on the 1964 story of Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old woman who was stabbed to death outside her apartment in New York, while dozens of onlookers in surrounding apartment buildings allegedly did nothing. However, further research has called the number of witnesses into question, and it appears that several did, in fact, call the police. Someone reportedly shouted out their window and scared the attacker away for a few minutes, and someone did rush to Genovese's aid after the second attack.

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