Getting to Know Your Professors
If you are a student in college or university, it is a great idea to get to know your professors. It is especially beneficial to know professors in your major field, as they will likely be teaching you many more classes during your years of study. Everyone wants to get the most out of their time at a post-secondary institution, and building relationships with your professors is one great way to do just that.
Students who take the initiative and get to know their professors tend to get better grades. They are more likely to be engaged and interested in the course material and more likely to seek one-on-one guidance if they have questions or problems. Knowing a professor can be beneficial outside of a specific course as well. It gives you someone to talk to about your future studies, such as what courses to take and which direction to go in with your degree. It might also open up research opportunities to enrich your degree and educational experience.
On top of all of this, it can simply be a great personal experience to get to know someone with so much knowledge, especially if you are interested in their field. Being able to talk to a professor about your interests can inspire you to work harder and strive further. Your professor might become your role model. Even if you aren’t planning to become a professor yourself, you might vow to one day have as much experience and knowledge as they do.
Some students aren’t aware of how immensely beneficial a good relationship with their professor can be. Others may realize this, but feel intimidated and nervous about striking up a conversation outside of class. The thing to remember is that professors are people too. They are very smart people who have worked hard to get to where they are, but still just people. Like most of us, they enjoy getting to know others. Imagine spending years and years studying to get your degree, and then years more doing research, teaching, and publishing ideas in your chosen field. You’d be thrilled to share your ideas with a student who shows interest.
A great start in getting to know a professor is to sit in the front of the class and ask questions or make comments whenever you get the chance. Make sure your comments actually have something to do with the course material and that you aren’t just speaking for the sake of speaking. You could even try hanging around after class if you have something more you’d like to discuss, as long as you know that your professor doesn’t have to run off to another class right away. Take advantage of office hours to discuss the course material, ask questions, or even stop by for a quick chat if it looks like your professor isn’t too busy. E-mailing is also a great and easy way to keep in touch and ask quick questions that don’t require a meeting. Be sure to always be courteous and thank your professor for taking the time to reply.
Every professor has done their time, so to speak. They have toiled their way through school just as you are now. They’ve had to deal with the large class sizes, course loads, assignments, presentations, and even disappointing grades. Having access to that kind of wisdom and advice is indispensable. You can benefit from it whether you are just looking for good grades or have a deeper interest in the material. Just make the effort, be kind and thoughtful, and your professor will want to get to know you too.