When instructors affect student lives and experiences

Photo courtesy of Jenel Cavazos

Jacob Jardel  Assistant Managing Editor  @JJardel_Writing

Jacob Jardel
Assistant Managing Editor
@JJardel_Writing

“There will always be advisors, but there will only be one Dr. C.”

That’s what I texted Dr. Mary Dzindolet to put on the gift we gave Dr. Jenel Cavazos at Saturday’s Psi Chi Induction Ceremony. It was the only thing I could think that would be fitting in a small amount of space.

Let’s face it: Dr. C deserves more than just a small amount of space.

I first met Dr. Cavazos in her Spring 2012 Lifespan class. Something about her teaching and her persona made her different from other instructors I’ve had in the past. She had a certain something that I could not – and still cannot –describe.

All I knew was that I had to talk with her more. Now that I have, it’s hard to think of Cameron University without her.

Once this semester wraps up, though, those like me who she has taught and influenced will have to do so when she leaves for great opportunities at the University of Oklahoma, her alma mater in her current place of residence.

When she announced the news to me that she had applied for the job, I was happy because I knew she would get the job. How could she not? She’s a Hackler Award winner, an Adviser of the Year recipient and an all around amazing human being who anybody would be happy to know in some way or another.

Now that reality is starting to sink in, I’m still happy and super excited, but I also have that feeling one gets when change happens. Call it fear, call it sadness– the fact of the matter is that it is going to be a different Cameron without visiting Dr. C in her Harry Potter office in Nance Boyer.

The most recent time I visited, I received three things from her: the Psi Chi certificates and pins for the ceremony, some Psi Chi stickers for my nearly growing collection and a gift bag containing a mug and a pin that she accurately felt was uniquely me.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again: there will only be one Dr. C.

It takes a special adviser and instructor to get to know the students outside of the classroom, but it takes an exceptional human to truly care about each and every student.

To call Dr. Cavazos exceptional, though, is to understate it. She is always encouraging, always positive and always willing to talk about everything.  She will nerd out over a mutual interest minutes after providing her own brand of encouragement.  Most importantly, she was and is always unabashedly herself.

We recently had a conversation where we stated that we grew up at Cameron together. Looking back, it is true – we both did thrive here in a similar amount of time.

But one thing is for certain: I would not have been able to thrive without her. I can never thank her enough for that, and I wish her nothing but the best – she deserves it.

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