Jessica is a graduate of West Texas A&M University with a degree in Mass Communication. She is currently pursuing a working student position at a stud farm in northern Germany and hopes to one day compete for the US at the World Equestrian Games and in the Olympics. She also enjoys writing, drawing and painting, photography, playing the guitar and the piano, tennis, computers, and science.
If there’s one thing I could tell anyone going into college it would be to build a rapport with your professor. It certainly can’t hurt anything and in my experience, it was the little bit of extra help that I needed in classes where I struggled a lot.
–Disclaimer: I am not advocating being friendly with a professor on a romantic level. That kind of behavior can backfire. Keep it professional–
If you’ve gone through any kind of freshman orientation, you’ve probably already been told that it’s important to introduce yourself to your professor. In bigger classes, that can be intimidating, especially because everyone else is trying to do just that and it can be hard to get a word in for yourself at all. Plus, lets face it, if you’re in a gigantic lecture hall filled with at least 150 or more students, your professor isn’t going to remember your name and probably not even your face.
But office hours are great. Every single professor is required to have office hours in which they must make themselves available to their students for a set number of hours outside of class. If you’re having a hard time getting the concepts, or if you just feel like you need that extra umph to get high marks, take an hour out of your day to go for a consultation or to ask specific questions. If you’re really struggling, go every week.
Allow your extra effort to be noticed
Your professor will notice the effort you’re putting forth and in their mind, you’re automatically in good standing. My freshman year, I was a biology major at a very large university. I knew I was in over my head in pre-cal, and I went to office hours and got help from TA’s as much as I could. Eventually the professor knew me by name and would address me specifically during class to make sure I was understanding the lecture. I think I was surprised.
On a different occasion, I found myself at a new university in a 2-Dimensional Design class that met 8am Monday through Friday. I tried my best to show up every Friday morning, but the clincher was when one day my professor noticed that I had decided to stay late to redo an assignment. He saw that I was making an extra effort and I guess he was impressed because he decided to help me by telling me exactly which colors I needed and allowing me to use his personal paints. To say the least it was a good day. You never know what can happen.