relationships with college professors

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Hello!

I hope you’re having a great week! Today I’m actually taking my second accounting test for the summer – 2 down, 1 to go! Speaking of classes and doing well, I wanted to talk about relationships with college professors today. I mentioned this in one of my vlogs this month, but I wanted to go more in-depth in this post.

If you’re heading into college as a freshman, you’re going to hear from upperclassmen/orientation leaders/Resident Advisors that it’s good to go to a professor’s office hours for help. You’ll hear that if you want to do well in a class, go to the professor’s office hours to ask questions and get things cleared up. This is easier said than done.

I heard this exact piece of advice right before I started my classes in the fall as a freshman and did I go to office hours? Nope. I was taking a pretty heavy course load in my first quarter of college: Calculus II, Microeconomics, and an English Composition course. I went to office hours once or twice in my English Comp. course because my professor made sure we all conferenced with him before the final big portfolio was due, but that was it. I struggled a little in my microeconomics course, but I just asked my friend for help. I was definitely struggling in my calculus II class, but I thought I could figure it out myself. Wrong choice.

I ended up doing alright in my microeconomics course but could have done better, and ended up doing extremely poorly in my calculus II class. REGRETS. I can guarantee you that if I had went to office hours, I would have gotten better grades in both classes.

My second quarter, I took a macroeconomics class and guess what? I went to office hours. My macro class had a lecture professor and then a quiz section TA. I went to both. Near the end of the quarter, my TA knew who I was, and he was the one who graded the tests. I ended up doing really well in the class because a) I got all of my questions cleared up when I went to my TA’s office hours, and b) I built a relationship with my TA. He knew who I was and knew I worked and studied hard for the test. I’m not saying all classes and TAs will give you wiggle room to get a 4.0 in the class, but in this case, it helped me a lot to be on good terms with the TA who graded the tests. What I got out of  going to office hours? Build a relationship with your professor/TAMake your presence known (in a good way).

Earlier this summer when I took my first accounting quiz in the class, I didn’t do so hot. I said this in my vlog but I’ll say it again. My twin sister gave me some great advice: go to office hours and make the professor repeat parts of the lecture you didn’t understand. This is an auditory way of studying and a lot of the time, they will drop hints about what’s coming up on the test.

I took my sister’s advice and went to office hours. I walked into it hoping to gain a better understanding of what I did wrong on the quiz so I would do better on the test, and walked out of it getting that and so much more.  I ended up clicking really with my professor (she’s super young and very fashionable, so obviously!). She was super cool and gave me great advice about the accounting profession. She even asked me what nail polish color I was wearing. Yes, professors can be cool and friendly like that. And just like that, she knew who I was in her large lecture class and a relationship was formed. Since then, I’ve gone to her office hours every time and done really well in her class so far.

It’s critical to build strong relationships with your college professors, especially if it’s a class that plays a big part of your major. Don’t forget about recommendation letters or professional job references. If you build great relationships with your college professors, not only will you have a likelier chance of doing well in the class, but you’ll also have someone who will be able to speak well about your work ethic and talent for future recommendation letters to graduate school or job references. I’m planning to take more classes from my accounting professor in the future, so I was sure to build a good relationship with her now.

As I said earlier, it’s easier said than done to go to office hours. Maybe you’re too busy, or the professor is intimidating. Go with a friend. Email the professor and schedule a time that works for you both. Find a way to go to office hours. And even if you’re not struggling in the class but want to 4.0 it, go to office hours anyway. Professors are people too, and a lot of the time, their office hours are dead and silent. They’ll love company! Now that I’ve gone to office hours and seen that it helps my grade immensely and and my future, I can’t stress enough to trust me and go to office hours when you start school again in the fall – you’ll thank me later!!

Good luck!

Jen

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3 thoughts on “relationships with college professors

  1. I really appreciate these college tips posts! I do plan to go to office hours of my teachers though I do really worry about being extremely awkward about not having questions/having kind of dumb questions/not knowing how to phrase questions. But I know they’re kind of silly concerns sooo 🙈🙈🙈

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  2. As a college professor, I can perhaps contribute from the other side of the line and tell you that we really do remember those who show enough interest in our classes to come to office hours and ask for details and clarifications. Those are the students that truly stand out for me and I keep their interest in mind when the time comes to give final grades. Those who pass by me trying to be invisible have a much harder time. Just try to go with your questions ready.

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