Your classes, and therefore, faculty, are at the heart of the college experience. If you’re a student living on-campus, off-campus, remote, part time or even just auditing – it’s safe to say that you will have an opportunity to interact with faculty, a resource that is often overlooked and underutilized.
I know it can sometimes feel intimidating to connect with a professor. You might be thinking “My professor is probably too busy to talk with me.”, “I don’t even know what I would say?”, “What if I sound silly?” The truth is, professors are human beings, too! They signed up for this job because they are passionate and knowledgeable and want to share that knowledge with others – YOU!
Faculty come to academia with rich backgrounds in research, field work and intersecting careers in various industries. Many have relationships and knowledge in academia and in industry that just may help you advance in your field, find an opportunity or make a connection that wouldn’t have been possible without them. They could be a window into your future!
Here are some tips to connect with faculty in YOUR favorite classes:
Attend office hours!
Office hours are key to asking for extra help, but they are also a time you can connect one-on-one with your professor. Use this time to talk about your interests in the class and how these interests could potentially develop into an academic major or career. Learn about their career path and any special projects they are working on. Talk to them about your career interests and hear if they have any insights related to networking opportunities, events, internships, fellowships or scholarships you could apply to.
Remember, they are also a resource to the broader university community and can refer you to services unrelated to career exploration that you may not be aware of.
Find other ways to connect
Attend any special lectures or events they are part of. Ask about other classes they teach and see if they align with your interests and your academic schedule.
Keep them posted
Faculty (and staff!) always love to hear how their students are doing. Be sure to share updates with them regarding your progress, interests and experiences even after the semester ends.