The Truth About College Professors

There are a number of stereotypes for the college professor. Some people think of the typical college professor as the scatter brained liberal arts lecturer, who can barely dress themselves but manage to ramble on for a full hour about Milton. Others think of college professors as hip and young academics willing to break traditional pedagogy and engage their students in witty banter, or utilize hip new technology for their lessons.

These stereotypes are meant to humanize figures that attain nearly godlike status among their students. College students find amusing details about their professors so that they can relate to an adult capable of teaching several months worth of material. Even though most students revere or at least fear their professors, few of them realize how they can be a great academic and personal resource throughout college.

They’re there to help you

Believe it or not, most college professors are doing their job because they enjoy it. They’re teaching material that they’ve spent their lives trying to gain mastery over, and teaching college students gives them a chance to display their impressive store of knowledge. So if you’re struggling in your class, or even if you have some unrelated questions regarding the subject, you should certainly take the time to talk to your professor via email or during their office hours. If you’re not a very adept visual learner, and if you find yourself lost during your professor’s lectures, you’d be amazed at how much ground you could cover over a simple one on one session with them.

When lecturing, professors tend to distill information so that a general audience can easily follow it. They’ll talk about the general scope of a chapter or the broad message behind a novel so students can develop a framework that they can use to engage the material on a more intimate level when they study alone. But sometimes students need more than a broad lecture to understand the material, and most professors would be glad to speak to you about a subject in more specific terms. All you need to do is ask them for guidance.

Professors are people too

It might not be the case that you’re struggling in a subject in class. You might actually excel at a certain class so much that you’d like to speak to your professor about future classes that involve the material, but you’re intimidated by them for whatever reason. Please don’t be afraid to approach them! Professors love to hear from students who enjoy their material, especially if they want to pursue it more in depth in their college career.

At the end of the day professors and college academics are people too, people who want to know that they’re doing a good job and that their work is getting through to some people. Most students who take a course in college won’t remember their material (or their professor) once the next semester hits. But in most college courses, a few students will connect with the material so much that they’ll remember what they learned for the rest of their lives. If you find yourself powerfully struck by the material in your class, tell your professor about it. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it.

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Jemina Lopez

Jemina Lopez

Jemima Lopez is a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email:
Jemina Lopez

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