Aparna M Zama is an undergraduate program director and an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Animal Sciences.
When I first arrived in the U.S in the month of August (as a graduate student enrolled in a Ph.D program), I walked into my first class and saw these sights: The professor was wearing a pair of shorts, a “Hawaiian” shirt, and flip-flops and he was using some “naughty” words in his lectures. I remember thinking “that’s my professor?!” In India, I grew up with professors wearing very formal clothes and being very staid. So, this professor’s attitude was refreshing and fun. I learnt a lot in that Molecular Genetics class! On the flip side- the students were no less: some of them were sitting with their feet up on the desks and eating snacks and asking questions from a seated position. I was shocked! Weren’t the students supposed to be more respectful and bow a little when they stand up to ask questions? Turns out that the sense of freedom and lack of hierarchy freed me from my shell, and I became more comfortable with my environment. That first day will forever be memorable to me!