You’re probably forming all kinds of new relationships during college, but have you considered establishing a few with your professors? It may be an awkward proposition – professors often seem like robotic encyclopedias of knowledge who are too preoccupied with their research and teaching to communicate with their students individually. However, more often than not, they genuinely want to see you learn and will go to great lengths to ensure that you succeed.
In order to get the most out of your professors, you’ll have to get the most out of their classes. It’s important they know that you care about the subject matter and genuinely want to learn, so showing up to class prepared each day is a must. Even if you’re in a large auditorium with scores of other students, your commitment can be made evident through class participation and daily interactions with your professor after class. If you have any questions – and you probably will if you’re engaged in the content – feel free to ask them during those opportunities. Professors who are charismatic will make the learning experience more enjoyable, and even the ones who aren’t quite as sociable will enjoy speaking with an impressionable student. Be sure to utilize their office hours; it’ll give you a chance to discuss topics with them in-depth, and in the meantime, you can get to know them better. Also, attend their speaking engagements and participate in organizations they may head related to the subject of their classes. It’s a great way to supplement what you’ve already learned.
The primary benefit of cultivating a relationship with your professor is that your educational experience will be enhanced. If they better understand the attitudes of their students, they’ll be more likely to shape the curriculum to your liking. For example, an ethics professor who finds that his students get more out of class discussions than essays might place an added emphasis on participation in the final grade. The result is a higher rate of success. When you finally graduate, you’ll have connections who can help you start your career, whether it’s by writing a glowing reference to a prospective employer or by giving you a lead for a job opening. The relationships you’ve established with your professors are mutually beneficial, because once they’ve helped you achieve success, they’ll gain a sense of fulfillment that only educators can experience.