I have a friend, who in high school was never afraid to create and charm interpersonal relationships with our teachers. Even cynical teachers with a dry sense of humor were no match for her charisma. Our friends would tease her for what seemed like child-like behavior: in high school, school and teachers were the enemy and if you wanted to remain cool, you had to keep a covert profile — never divulge more smiles than necessary. What we didn’t know, was that she was way ahead of the interpersonal curve.
College and high school have a myriad of differences, the main one being state regulations. Attending high school is the law if you are under 18. Attending a university is a choice and more importantly a privilege. What high school and college have in common are the infrastructures of higher education. What were your teachers are now your professors; some will want to be called doctor and others prefer just their first name.
Some professors will be compelling and passionate, just as some high school teachers. Other professors will be great individuals and terrible teachers (check their rec’s, they are probably award-winning researchers). But where most high school students regarded their teachers as scantron grading, recommendation writing machines, university professors are your windows into the world of study you are either pursuing or want to pursue.
Of the few articles submitted for this orientation edition, one of the recurring themes is that nothing in college is set in stone, even the marks you have etched yourself. Being open to the translucence of life is one milestone, but knowing where and how to gather resources to make these changes applicable is a strenuous lesson that does not come without fail.
Your professors can help, and more often than not, they will help with your quarter life crises. Pay attention and show your personality in smaller classes; your professors may have Ph.Ds and use intimidating terminology like ‘praxis’ or ‘complex eigenvalue,’ but they are human beings passionate about their work and like when students show interest.
If your major doesn’t allot many small discussions or seminar-style classes, move outside of your mainframe. The personal level for which you will know your professor after spending 10-weeks with just them and 10 other students is incomparable to a 500 person lecture-hall.
If your major is too dense to allow you a course outside of your school, talk to your TA’s. If anything you are studying or learning peaks your vested interest, visit your professors or TA’s at their office hours — ask them about the work they do. You will be able to see options for work in their/your field of study. Your professors live and breathe the fields they teach, meaning they are aware of when the tides of the field are turning, of internship opportunities and places or ways to seek employment. They lend ideas about courses you may be interested in, or advice on how to navigate a field in which you are trying to find work.
As I have written, and many of the articles following will echo, life is written on water, and everyone, at one point, has seen their plans washed away. Half of college is about creating connections, the other half is figuring how to maintain them.
Filed Under: Opinion