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Could use some advice if that's ok

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Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby Baldanders » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:18 pm

I want to reach out to my former genetics prof, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t remember me. Also, I’m sure he’s busy and I don’t want to bother him. Third, but not least, I’m too embarrassed.
I took his classes before I knew I had DID/DDNOS, but at the time, some of my alters were making themselves known. In particular, one of our child alters loved that prof and kept taking over in class/lab which is downright mortifying. (They ramble nonsensically at length and have no filter.)
Maybe I’d feel a little less embarrassed if I could explain to him about the alter, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to hear about my mental health issues. Or anything about me really. (Not a self esteem thing. Most of the people I encounter don’t care about my life. That’s just the way things are.)
So what should I do? Should I reach out to him and, if so, how? How can I when I’m pretty sure what he remembers (if anything) is a grown adult acting like an annoying child?
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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby Amythyst » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:32 pm

Unless I'm missing something, you haven't mentioned why you want to contact him? Maybe that's not important or whatever.

I'm gonna assume it's cos you liked him and just want to contact him. And if that's the case, I say go for it. Worst that can happen is he's not interested. Or just doesn't respond. Either way I'd take it as a not-interested.

As for how, assuming you know where to find him? I'd like just send an email or whatever, be like, 'hey you probably don't remember me but you were my prof and I really enjoyed your classes' or something like that. Like, don't mention the embarassing stuff right off. Just say who you are and why you wanted to contact him. You can worry about the other stuff later.

FWIW there was a teacher we had in highschool for 3 classes IIRC and I'd love to contact her if we knew how. I dunno if she's even still alive now tho. But she was super interesting back then and I'd love to meet her again and let her know she was a huge influence and stuff. And to apologize for being so weird and stuff when we were in her classes lol.

Good luck, whatever you do!

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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby Baldanders » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:40 pm

I do want to contact him because I liked him, but I also want to ask him if he thinks I have what it takes to go further in genetics.
Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I do have his e-mail. My issue is how to get past the embarrassment enough to actually contact him.
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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby SeveralCrows » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:04 pm

Hello! We've been struggling with a similar thing, so we'll share what advice we've received and what we're dealing with. For us, we need to contact an old professor to be a reference for a job. We've been feeling awful about it, because of trauma that happened around the time we graduated, and generally our inability to regulate emotions during that time.

When I brought this up to a friend, he pointed out that people reach out to their old professors all the time, and that that's part of their job. It's part of their job to be available to their old students for references, and I think reaching out for a little career advice falls into that category too! It is in a university's best interests to help their students to thrive, and part of that is professors advising those students.

If you can remember any really good interaction you've had with the professor, bring that up. Maybe a presentation you really nailed, or an interesting genetics concept you discussed, or a novel way you approached something in one of his classes. This will help him to better remember you more specifically, given that he maybe sees hundreds of students in a year and it isn't clear how long it has been since you've seen him, and it will direct him to thinking about you in a positive light, rather than the negative ones you're anxious about. If it has been a long time, you might also mention when you graduated or took courses with him.

Regardless of how you handle this, you are just as entitled to reach out to him as anyone else. Good luck!
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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby Baldanders » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:45 pm

Thanks! That is very reassuring.
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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby lartiste » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:31 am

Hey I had a similar situation just a few weeks back.
I reached out to my old teacher, eventhough I was terrified of "being too much" and they responded very kindly (they still remembered me and were happy to talk to me again). So I think your Prof will also be content, if not happy that you contacted him.
Also if I were a professor and an old student contacted me because he liked me so much, I'd feel honoured and be glad to help out.
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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby Allcoulors » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:40 pm

A professor sees hundreds of students each year and you only see the one proffesor in that class so its likley he wont remember most of the embarrasing things you did just because he sees so many people.
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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby Baldanders » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:04 am

Thanks for the advice, everyone.
If I may bother you for some more... I am writing him an e-mail that includes stuff like that he was my favourite prof, does he remember me, and does he think I have what it takes to go further in genetics, but I want to add more that makes the e-mail sound a less self absorbed.
I'm trying to read some of the articles he's written/co-written, so I have an excuse to contact him that isn't about us and that shows genuine interest in his research. Unfortunately, I can only access the abstracts, not the full articles and I don't know how to speak science (that's more Silas's area and he's too depressed and embarrassed to contact him himself), so I am having trouble thinking of questions to ask. So what can I add instead that shows the same kind of interest?
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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby SeveralCrows » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:21 am

Does he mention on his website or faculty page anything new he's doing at the university since you left? He might have information on that research that doesn't require you to think science so much, a conference he's been to, a new program he's running with students, or a new class he's started teaching?

Any chance you could ask Silas to just write to you about the science and you can use that to write the email to the professor?
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Re: Could use some advice if that's ok

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Aug 15, 2019 2:25 am

My husband works in academia and gets emails from students all the time. It's probably enough to show interest in wanting to read his articles--you can say that you were only able to access the abstracts, and if you're not able to ask questions right now, just be interested in what he's working on.

It's a great idea to want to ask questions--can Silas relay them to you or something? But if you can't, then just do what you can. Also, if you want to go further in genetics, then why can't you? Did you do well in his classes? If so, then as far as he knows, you have what it takes.

If you want to get a PhD, then think about the steps you need to take and what area you like, and maybe ask him questions about what the best program is, or whatever. Profs are always happy to encourage and support students--that's a big part of their job. I think it's important to do what you love even if you won't necessarily be one of the best at it.

They also know that people, especially young students, grow and change, so I wouldn't worry too much that he'll have a fixed idea of you. If you're more mature and appropriate now, then that's what he'll see.
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