by Elizabeth Wilcox
Many advisors routinely receive notes of appreciation from the students they advise.
Though each thank you note is treasured by its recipient and speaks to a unique interaction and relationship, when many notes are reviewed across the entire advising community, they speak to more than an individual connection. They create an amazing first person narrative of the many positive “outcomes” of advising. This “evidence” of impact goes beyond what survey and other data can identify.
Together these notes are striking for their consistency and emotional intensity. Students do not just “thank” their advisor, they express “oceans of gratitude” and appreciation “from the bottom of their heart(s)”. Many read “I don’t know what I would have done without you.” A note to Mabel Lee simply reads “you are as close as it gets to an angel in this place.”
They include simple but powerful statements about advisors as guides and leaders, such as “you were for me, instead of against me” and “you inspire me”, “you are my superhero” and “no one reached out to me the way you did”. A note to Amber Dillon reads “You helped me find a solution when all I could see was darkness and self-doubt”.
They are also striking in the stories of transformation and expanded opportunities they tell. A note to Leah Carroll reads “I have made amazing discoveries and my life has transformed”, “you are my mentor and more.” A note to Amy Azuma reads, “you have given me so many opportunities to challenge myself” and in many other notes “I wouldn’t be where I am now without you” ”or have gotten…” (this scholarship, study abroad experience, into medical school, etc.) without your help and “encouragement”.
Many also recognize the important problem solving role advisors play in “keeping the trains running” and “putting out the fires”.
They also speak eloquently to student success. For example, another note addressed to Mabel Lee reads..
I remember thinking, If I actually end up with a Ph.D. at the end of all this, it will be at least 80% because of Mabel. I want to acknowledge and appreciate all the work you do that has enabled me to reach this point with my sanity still (mostly) intact…
We hope you will enjoy and be inspired by the many quotes from letters we have assembled so far and consider sharing your note with us. These are testaments to what each of you contributes on a daily basis and the many ways you include, listen, encourage, engage and care for students. These notes, as well as the many nomination letters we receive during our awards cycle include deeply moving stories of your commitment to students and the campus community. Thank you from the bottom or our hearts…
With special thanks to the many advisors who have shared their treasured notes with us.
Wanna share your note? Contact Elizabeth Wilcox firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Thank You Note Excerpts
“I can tell you want everything to be perfect for incoming freshman and everyone can see you are kind and hardworking…and would do anything for the program’s success.”
“Oceans of gratitude to you for your patience and expertly professional and caring communication. I am over the moon with joy and so very happy to share it with you.”
“…(thank you) for keeping the fires burning and the trains running on time…we students would be lost without you!”
“…you make students feel important and not like a nuisance. College is really tough and one kind gesture can make all the difference. Your free spirit and genuine interest in people is inspiring.”
“You hardly knew me, but reciprocated with genuine sympathy. Your dedication to assisting students with passion is quite apparent. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I feel fortunate and appreciative for being one of the many students that you have positively influenced.”
“I must say, I’ve never been reached out to by a counselor or even a professor like this, so a big thank you to you! I’m definitely grateful.”
“Thank you so much, you are the most helpful and wonderful person ever. I sincerely thank you for everything and hope you have a spectacular, bountiful, and fulfilling life.”
“You’ve given me so many opportunities to challenge myself and also to showcase my work, and taught me that it’s important to have my contributions recognized. I’m the luckiest student ever to have had you as my mentor. Right from the beginning you’ve been incredibly supportive of my personal interests.”
“I wanted you to know that it would have been a very different experience without your mind and smile.”
“I always love talking to you, and your contagious energy makes an already awesome major even more amazing!”
“I cannot fully express my appreciation for all of the guidance and support you have shown me the past couple of years. Your support has opened numerous doors and opportunities for me that I never would have had. There is no doubt I will always remember your kindness…”
“You have this way of making everyone around you feel so important and you bring out the best in people!”
“Your constant encouragement was immeasurably helpful to me and I always knew I could come to you and get help or advice without judgment. It was a great feeling knowing that you were there at a time when I didn’t think highly of my intelligence…You’re the best mentor, advisor, coach, liaison I could have asked for…”
“…I always felt your compassion for me and the other students…you have such a unique capacity for empathy. You have been an incredibly bright ray of positivity….”
“You are like every graduate student’s mentor, advisor and best friend. You are so dedicated and passionate about your work, but so humble and friendly at the same time. My journey through graduate school was amazing, and I owe a huge part of it to you.”
“I couldn’t image how it would have been without your help and support.”
“Studying abroad …was one of the most amazing experiences in my life! I was able to see a whole new country and made many new friends that I still keep in touch with today. I wouldn’t have had any of these memories without your help. I can’t begin to tell you how much studying abroad has positively impacted me and it is very much thanks to you.”
Mabel Lee as provided by Anne Meyers
“You are as close as it gets to an angel in this place!”
“Mabel YOU ROCK!”
“I remember thinking, “If I actually end up with a Ph.D. at the end of all this, it will be at least 80% because of Mabel. I want to acknowledge and appreciate all the work you do that has enabled me to reach this point with my sanity still (mostly) intact!”
“Your presence always makes me very happy…I wish I could spend more time with you and get to know you more. College is a great place to learn to get to know yourself. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to work with you.”
“I really miss you….. You are so encouraging to me, and I end up leaving like I’m making good, informed choices whenever I talk to you.”
“Thank you for your time, your efforts and your kindness... it is important I convey how inspiring you were to me at a pivotal juncture in my life. With Gratitude Always.”
“As this card expresses, I feel I have not sufficiently conveyed how grateful I am for your help. Without your excellent advice and your unconditional dedication, I would not have been able to conceive of and develop my project the way I did. This project means so much to me. When I reminisce about it decades from now, I will remember how supportive you were.”
“Because of your tremendous support and encouragement, I have made amazing discoveries and my life has transformed!”
“You are a superhero!”
“I honestly couldn’t have made it through this past year without you.”
“I have come to rely on you not only for support, encouragement, and problem-solving brilliance but also intellectual growth.”
“You have helped me so much and have given me so much direction that I don’t think I would be where I am now without you.
“I am sure you have received tons of these announcements over the years, but this one should hold a special spot. I don’t know if you are aware of the struggles (x) was battling…his Mother died on Thanksgiving Day…while you were working so hard (on his behalf). I think the best part of his time at Berkeley is that he has finally realized that it is ok to be smart. His Mother, also named Sharon, was also a returning student and always knew he had it in him. Thank you…”
“Thank you for being an amazing advisor-our only regret is that we weren’t able to meet you sooner!! You are such a great source of support and advice during both the fun as well as difficult times. There were many times this year…that you guided us through not only professionally and productively but also compassionately.”
“I’m just so grateful to you because you were for me, rather than against me...and backed me up with whatever help you could give. And even more amazingly, you helped me come back to school. In a matter of months, I’ll be graduating along (with) my friends. None of this would have been possible without your guidance and impact in my life. And with as much thanks that words can express, I just wanted to say thank you for everything. I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
“I know you help many students besides myself, but it really means alot to me and I don’t know how to thank you enough. If it weren’t for you, I don’t know what I’d have done last year. You helped me find a solution when all I could see was darkness and self-doubt. You’re a great advisor and always calming when I’m panicking. Thank you, thank you for all you’ve done for me. I cannot thank you enough.”
“I am writing to let you know that I received my first medical school acceptance letter last week. Your support not only kept me steady throughout the process, but really helped to improve the quality of my application as well. I could not have done it without you. Thank you for helping me realize my dreams.”
“You give new meaning to the word special”. “We are blessed to have your support.” “Thank you for helping to create such a welcoming and regenerative space for our campus Native community.” “It is an honor to be around your beautiful spirit.” “Thank you as always...the Native community would be lost without you.”