Let me start off by staying I don’t mean you should become best friends with your professor and hang out with him or her on nights and weekends. But, you should make it a point to visit them in their office during office hours and go above and beyond just attending classes. Why is this? Read on for the reasons.
It’s More About Who You Know Than What You Know
It’s important to learn and get a good education. But a lot of opportunity comes from knowing the right people. Since you want a job in your major, there is no better connection than your profession in that major. Think about it: they are most likely well known in the community if not the nation and have many friends.
This means that the more you get to know them and they get to know you, the more likely it is they will pass on information about internships and other outside activities to you that will benefit you immensely.
I’ve been in classes where there were upcoming events related to my major and those that visited with the professor more were the one’s selected to attend the event as special guests. I know this because all of us that went were the ones that I would always see in my professor’s office.
The benefit of this was that I was able to network with important people in my field so that when I graduated I had a leg up on others. Furthermore, by being a ‘special guest’ of my professor, the important people I met instantly held me in higher regard because my professor thought so highly of me.
They Will Remember You
In the months and years after you take their class, they will always remember you. This benefits you again because should something come up, your name will be one of the first one’s they think about. Not all of the opportunities that come up will be worth taking, but at least you have the option of taking it if you would like.
For example, look at how many recent graduates are working jobs not related to their major. When corporations have an opening, they will go to people they trust to see if there is anyone that these people know would be a good fit. Many times, the trusted people are professors. If you have a good relationship with your professor, you have a greater chance of landing a great job.
You’ll Get Breaks
It’s true. When you are in good with the professor, you will get breaks. I’ve seen it first-hand. I’ve become close with a professor and they have been much more lenient on me than others that made the same mistakes. Likewise, I’ve been on the other side too where I’ve been the person that has taken the hit for not being so close.
You Don’t Have To Be The Smartest
In the examples above where I was able to attend the special events, I was nowhere near the smartest person the class. But I showed an interest in the topic and I also showed that I wanted more out of the course than just going to class, doing my homework and taking tests.
Getting ahead by befriending your professor has nothing to do with smarts, it has everything to do with the interest in the subject matter and showing that you want more out of the course.
I’m not suggesting you ìbrown-noseî to your professor or any of the like. I am simply saying to make yourself known to your professor. When you visit during office hours, ask questions you might have based on the lecture or the homework.
Furthermore, talk about what you want to do after college and see what they think would be your best move. They are there to help you. That is why they have the office hours in the first place. The more you get to know your professor, the more opportunities you will have.