More often than not, students don't take advantage of the valuable resource that is available to them every day. Professors aren't just around to lecture. There are many reasons why you should make the effort to introduce yourself to your professors.
Why should you get to know them?
- First and foremost, if you need help with an assignment or exam preparation, they are the most logical person to go to. Don't be ashamed to ask them for help. They are here to make sure you learn as much as you can about their subject.
- Professors notice who makes the effort. If you go to their office hours they'll see that you are trying to succeed. In the end they are more lenient with grades to the students who came to seek help. It could mean the difference between a B+ and A-, or where it really counts, between an F and a D. It's harder for them to fail someone they know by name.
- They'll never know how hard you worked on something unless you go see them. Doing poorly on a homework assignment that you never asked for help on could seem to them like you waited until the last minute and then couldn't complete it. If you go to see them, you can tell them just how much you've worked on it already, and they'll know you weren't slacking off. Knowing you put in the effort usually leads to them giving you a better grade.
- If you ever decide to apply to graduate school, or for a job, you'll need letters of recommendation. Professors won't write them for you if they don't know you. Make a point to let them get to know your character and abilities, which can be far more effective in a letter than reiterating what's on your resume.
- Sometimes students get stuck with unhelpful academic advisors. Luckily your professors know a little something about classes too. They can help you find courses you'll enjoy and that will help you succeed with your career goals. Plus, they know your strengths and weaknesses from class, so they'll know what you can handle.
- If you are looking for an on-campus job, professors often know of openings, or can recommend departments which might have jobs available. You could also end up working side by side with them on their current research project.
- Professors can offer you career advice and help you figure out what you want to do with your life. Many of them have amazing connections, and can even help get you an internship or a job after college.
- They are fascinating people. Many of them have traveled to some amazing places and have great stories to tell. They usually love sharing their experiences, and you could make a lifelong friend simply by listening.
How can you get to know them?
- Introduce yourself at the end of the first class. Make sure they know you by name from then on.
- Stop by their office during office hours. Let them know who you are, ask for help if you need it, or just say hi.
- Send an email. Make sure you mention your name and what class you're in, because they have a lot of students!
- Say hello if you see them around campus. The more they see you the more they'll remember you.
- Invite them to lunch. Especially if you anticipate being nervous, it's always easier to have food and other people around!