One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding professor and student relationships is that students often think that professors are intimidating and aren’t very interesting to talk to. Many students dread going to see their professors during office hours and they hate talking to their professors outside of the classroom.
It’s important to talk to your professors for a few reasons. They can offer insight into areas that you may not have had experience with, both academically and situationally, and more often than not, your professors are cool people to talk to.
One resource that students have but do not often take advantage of is office hours. Students often struggle with decisions about their future and what they want to do after graduation. Professors can provide advice that can’t be found online.
For example, Tim Hanson and Maria Lundberg from the mass communication department spent time talking with me when I considered switching my major. I told them some of my concerns about not being able to find a steady job because of changes in the field, and they were able to put me in touch with former FMU graduates who were experiencing these changes in the field first-hand. Their connections were able to answer my questions and helped me feel more confident switching to a department that I enjoy.
This is one of my fondest memories of talking to my professors. They didn’t have me in their classes yet, but they were willing to spend time with me to answer my questions. Hanson and Lundberg were very patient with me during that meeting, and they provided insight into the department that I wouldn’t have known had I kept my concerns to myself.
Another reason to establish relationships with professors is that they are genuinely cool people. Students often think that their professors are boring. In actuality, professors are incredible people who often lead very interesting lives outside of the university.
Over spring break, I had the opportunity to go to Spain with Jon Tuttle, Wendy Caldwell, and three other students. I was a bit concerned at first that most of the conversation would be about museums, school and other academic stuff that I didn’t want to think about over break. On the contrary, we hardly talked about school. I found out that Tuttle and Caldwell lead exciting lives, and I was laughing with them the entire trip.
All of this goes to show that students don’t need to feel afraid or threatened by their professors. If there’s a problem, students should feel comfortable going to their teachers to talk about it. The degree that your professor possesses doesn’t make them any less of an interesting person.
So if you find yourself needing help on an assignment, struggling to find a direction for your future or having a bad day, don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. They usually have insight that is beneficial, and if they don’t, they know where to send you for help. Don’t let the resources around you that could help you in your future go unused.