A window inside life at Augustana College

The Not-So-Secret Minority

On college tours and these blogs, we all talk endlessly about clubs and activities, complain about classes, and talk about our friends… but no one really talks about professors. They’re kind of taken for granted. You take classes, you have professors, you complain about them and/or the homework they give you. But interacting with professors in college is entirely different from your relationships with teachers in high school.

In college, it’s actually cool to go talk with your professors outside of class and about things that might not relate to your classes. Most professors have office hours and they encourage you to go in and talk to them if you don’t understand something you’re learning in their class. USE THE OFFICE HOURS! It really helps, I promise. Go bounce around paper ideas with your English professor or workshop a draft. Go talk to your Chemistry professor about solvents and crystallization if you’re having trouble in class. That’s the way you build up relationships and hey, one of those professors you had freshman year and really like might just end up being your major advisor!

And if you really like a professor and don’t have the chance to take classes with them again, stay in touch. They’ll probably appreciate it. Last year, I went in to talk with my winter term Foundations professor, Dr. Simonsen (pictured above) from the History and Women’s and Gender Studies departments, during spring term about a piece of writing I was working on for a Creative Writing class. I was writing about something she knew a lot about, so I sent her an email (don’t just show up annannounced to a professor’s office, that’s not very nice) and we met and she gave me a lot of really good feedback.  Professors are wonderful resources to learn about many departmental goings-on because they have friends in other departments and knows a lot about what’s going on here. And many of them are very knowledgeable in areas outside their discipline, so you needn’t just go to your French professor for French etc.

Now I’m not saying you have to haunt your professors’ offices and contrive meetings with them (that would just be creepy!). Don’t force meetings if you don’t have anything to talk about, and be considerate as the term progresses (professors have their own classes and grading and advisees) because professors get busier at the end of term too. I’m just saying that building a relationship with a professor does not make you a nerd and a teacher’s pet in college.

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