Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Connect with Your Professors

One key to doing well in college is this: connect with your professors.

What Connecting Means

What do I mean by that? I mean, get to know them, and make sure they get to know you. Engage with them in class, yes, but also talk to them before class starts or after it ends. Find out if they have a teaching assistant (TA) for the next semester, or the semester after that.

This is especially important for the professors who teach in your major. For me, that's psychology. So, as things stand now, I'm scheduled to TA for one professor next semester, and I have agreed to TA for another one the following two semesters. I even got a request from another to TA for him.

The professor I had for Intro to Psychology agreed to be my faculty mentor, which is a good thing to have. She's helped me figure out what I need to do to prepare myself to apply to graduate school. Because of her, I put myself into the running for Vice President of the Kennesaw State University Psychology Club, and as a result I am the incoming VP for the Fall semester.

I don't think Freud was ever the Vice President of his school's Psychology Club. So there.

By Max Halberstadt[1] (1882-1940) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Be Sincere

It only makes sense to connect with professors if you sincerely believe in them and want to learn from them. If so, such a connection will prove invaluable. This is where being an older student can come in handy, too, because it'll be easier for you to relate to your professors than it was when you were in your early twenties.

When you find a professor that you do connect with, schedule a time to discuss your goals so they know the direction you want to go, and you may be surprised by how much they can help you. But please respect their time and position, and don't become a pain the tuches.

Don't just pick one professor and latch onto him or her, either. Make sure they all know you for all the right reasons by adhering to the advice in this blog: sitting in the front row, participating in class, never missing a class, etc.

In college, you want to be the teacher's pet. Just the other day I had a teacher tell our class that if a student's grade was on the cusp between two grades, a 'C' and a 'B' for example, if she knew who the student was by name, that student was likely to get the 'B.' If not, that student would get the 'C.' 

In other words, to her knowing a student's name, especially in a class of 150, meant that student was trying hard to do well. Is it fair? I guess it depends on who's asking the question, but in college professors can do that.

Next: Time management and prioritizing.

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