Editor's Column: Finding Your Academic Crush
Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 22, 2013 19:09
I remember my first “crush” very clearly. His name was Anthony and he had red hair, and even though we were only five years old at the time, I swear it was love ever since he offered me a sip of his Mott’s apple juice, from the same straw.
Fast-forward about 15 years, and if you were to ask me if I still have a “crush” on someone, the answer would be, yes. Although not in the traditional sense of the word—there are no romantic associations with this particular crush of mine. This individual has captivated my attention, not in a heart-fluttering, teen-romance-cliche-novel kind of way, but in an intellectually engaging manner. This person is a professor, and we’ll call him or her my academic crush.
I did not create the term—I first heard it in use by a friend of mine. The term “academic crush,” as I have come to describe it, refers to a professor who you deeply admire—someone who makes you excited to come to class, someone who is the perfect combination of brilliant and unique, perhaps someone with a sense of humor and wit. A person who truly cares about his or her students and evokes a desire to learn that can sometimes be hard to find. And they may not be the top-rated professors on PEPS, or the ones that all of your friends are raving about. These professors could be less known among the student body, but for some particular reason, they have left an impact on you that you can’t ignore.
It’s almost like the feeling of your first crush—that feeling you can’t seem to shake. But instead of stalking his or her profile pictures, or imagining impossible scenarios in which you drop your books and said person comes to your rescue and just happens to notice how lovely your eyes are as he hands you your chemistry textbook and offers to be your “study partner,” you find yourself fixated on this person in a different manner. Do you want to take all of this professor’s courses, read anything that he or she has published, and go to office hours just to continue the conversation outside the classroom? If you have answered, “yes” to all of the above, you’re crushing hard, but don’t worry—there’s no reason to feel embarrassed.
Here at Boston College, I have encountered numerous professors that may fall into the academic crush category, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because we have the opportunity to take courses with such insightful individuals, and we can even hang out with them outside of class—during office hours, campus lectures, seminars, or the ever-popular Professors and Pastries. If you’ve never attended, I highly recommend it—not only because the desserts are free and infinitely better than dining hall cookies, but also because you might just strike up a conversation with someone who could be your next crush. And if you find yourself intimidated by so many intellectuals, bring a friend, pretend to engage in meaningful conversation to avoid being interrupted by a faculty member, and then slip away with your plate of chocolate covered strawberries and macaroons. We won’t judge.
I’ve only recently realized that having an abundance of academic crushes is also a curse. These years seem to be escaping at incredible speed, and as redundant as this may sound, you really do need to make the most of your time as an undergraduate student. But that creates a lot of pressure—only four years to take all the classes that you want, with every professor ever recommended to you, and feel completely enthusiastic about each one. The truth is, I don’t think that’s possible—you’re bound to take some courses that you’re less than thrilled about, whether it be to fulfill major or core requirements, and some courses are better suited for some individuals than others. Just as you and your roommate may not have the same taste in guys or girls, someone else’s academic crush just may not be your type. And that’s quite alright—if we were all crushing on each other, both in academic and personal settings, there would be no way to recognize the ones that truly stand out.
So whether you have too many academic crushes to count, or you’re still waiting for yours to come along, don’t panic. There’s a professor on campus for each and every one of you, just waiting to make you realize how lucky you are to be a college student.
And who’s my academic crush, you may ask? As Gossip Girl would say, that’s one secret I’ll never tell.