• Jessica Harris

Letters from #AuntieJess - June 25, 2020


Today’s letter from #AuntieJess on #ThoughtfulThursday is a story about my mentor Dr. Zhu.


It was mid-term and in Dr. Zhu’s class if you had an A in his class you didn’t have to take the mid-term exam. I was applying for REU programs for the summer and I came by at the time of my exam to ask him for a letter.

What a big mistake on my end. He told me to sit down and take the exam. I thought at first he was playing. But he was NOT. He doesn’t play. Yep, I took the exam. I was so pissed.


But later, I asked him why he made me take the exam since I didn’t have to for my grade. He said “to teach you to always be prepared”. It is a life lesson I will forever carry with me. `


In this lesson, he also taught me about our relationship. Even though I was mad at him, this showed me he cared about me. He was willing to make me temporarily uncomfortable to teach me a life long lesson.

He often told me “when the student is ready the teacher will come”. I will forever cherish our relationship because it was give and take. This quote means me that I have a part to play in my grow and development. It reminds me to be willing be introspective, pliable, and open for growth. Find you a mentor(s) who will tell you the truth. And who are willing to make your uncomfortable to make you grow.


BONUS: If you follow me on IG or Twitter you probably read this story last week. I wanted to share an additional story about Dr. Zhu that wasn't featured last week. :-)


I came to Dr. Zhu once during office hours for help on a homework set. I was asking my half-baked questions and he quickly read through me. He knew I hadn't done my due diligence of studying. We were in the student office in Carver Hall at Grambling and he left me in the room. He told me he would return when I actually studied. I was legit afraid he might never come back. I felt like in that moment I had disappointed him.

When he came back it was the first time he told me "when the student is ready the teacher will come". I never again came unprepared or didn't study. Not just in his class but in others. He taught me so much in two years he was in my life. Stay tuned for more stories about this amazing man.

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