There is no doubt that college is tough. For every hour you spend in class, you typically have to spend an additional two to three hours outside of class on reading assignments, essays, and studying in general. Examinations and writing assignments are already stressful, but when you add a notoriously tough professor into the mix – you know, the kind of professor who doesn’t believe in curving grades – your college semester can be downright brutal. But before you run off to badmouth your tough instructor on sites like RateMyProfessors.com, consider this: he or she may be doing you a favor by demanding perfection.
Of course, there is a difference between tough professors and plain old biased ones. Biased professors are those who seem perpetually dissatisfied as they give out bad marks even to students who adhered to every guideline the professor mandated. Biased professors are also those who favor certain students over others, doling out grades that seem completely arbitrary and not reflective of the actual quality of the work. Tough professors, on the other hand, just demand more out of their students. They want clear and concise answers on examinations, fluid and informative writing on essays, and confident, compelling, and accurate presentations for presentation projects. These professors often make their high standards known and also make themselves readily available for student assistance. Though they may grade harder and their standards may seem astronomical, they are not impossible to please. These are the professors who will prove to be of the greatest benefit to you.
The plain truth is that once you graduate from college, you will find that the work place is filled with demanding employers. It is rare to find an “easy” employer in a professional business who will let you get away with substandard performance. You will need to be ready mentally and emotionally to work with people who will judge your products and performance critically. Your experience with your demanding professor will prepare you to join this environment and you will be more prepared for the stressors that come with working in “the real world” than many of your peers who coasted through college with easy instructors. In addition, you will become more accustomed to managing your time and efforts in order to make a big project pay off. These skills will come in handy in the work place and will gain the attention and respect of your coworkers and bosses, which makes all the trouble you went through in college completely worth the sleepless nights.