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university

In Academics on
July 13, 2015

How To Build A Relationship With Your Professor

Professors are very important to your college career. They can be a great resource when it comes to your grades (how about raising that 89.4 to a 90 por favor?), important internships and job opportunities, as well as just being a future colleague of yours. Especially when it comes to professors who teach classes in your major, it is very important to get to know them. 

 How To Build A Relationship With Your Professor | Getting to know and building a relationship with your professors is an important thing to do. If you don't know where to start when it comes to getting to know your professors, click through to learn more.

When I first started reading college help guides a lot of people had some fairly strange ways to get to know your professor, without mentioning the really mundane ways that you could get to know them. Asking your professor to lunch is just plain creepy in my book, but there are a lot of easy ways to hang out with them and get to know them.

Choose your seat wisely

There are a few places you can sit if you want to be noticed in a classroom. As a nerdy nerd/awesome person who wants your teacher to be able to really talk with you this is your T-Zone or Go Zone if you will. The first two rows are golden, if those are taken go for the middle row seats. If you want to be really crazy sit in the middle on the top two rows. The first two rows are great because you will be close to the board and your professor and the middle is great because you will be close to your professor and right in their line of vision. This will help you connect with your professors a lot and get a great experience in the classroom. Avoid the green areas if you can. 

I also just like the front seats because you get to know a lot about your professors and they usually converse with the people on the front rows before class. I used to have a really awesome professor and sitting on the front rows were fun in his class because he was a more reserved person and had a lot of funny snarky things to say that most of the class couldn’t hear unless you sat in the front.

Once you choose your seat, go to class

Going to class is very important. Even if you chose an excellent seat your great relationship with your professor can all be undone once they realize how often you skip class. Missing class in college is not the smartest decision anyway because you miss so much material. It’s also not smart because professors catch on to more than you know. Even in a larger class. 

For example one time I was in physical science (a classroom with about 100 students) and I missed lecture, but I didn’t miss lab because I really needed to go to lab. My teacher talked to me and said “Missed you in class today.” This was interesting, mainly because I could have sworn she didn’t know I existed. I was used to classes being no more than 30 in my major so this was very different, and it was kinda strange being called out like that. 

Make it a point to participate

Participation is a huge way to get your professor to know you, your thoughts, and your work. Participating is an easy way to build a relationship with your professor through exchanging ideas about course material. Don’t be afraid to speak up and let your professor know you are excited about (or at least tolerating) the course.

Let your work speak for itself

Another way to build a relationship, and sometimes the only way, is through your work. Sometimes in big universities the only way a professor can truly get to know you is through your work. Let your personality and seriousness about your work shine through your homework, papers, journals, etc. Sometimes this is your only tool, so you have to use it well. Your work says a lot about you so let it speak well.

Office hours

Office hours are a great way to get to know your professor and figure out what you could be doing better in the course. Some key times to talk to your professor:

  1. After your first exam.
  2. After you are given instructions for a major assignment (ex. a paper)
  3. Before you turn in a major assignment.

Don’t make it a point to go to office hours every week, but have a reason. Save up a few questions, talk about how you can improve your studying techniques for the class, go over your outline for a paper, etc. Be careful not to waste your professors time or the time of students who really need their help because you want to get to know the professor. If you have a question or two number 6 will be of help to you.

Talk to your professor before or after class

Professors often come to class before and stick around after class unless they have a back to back schedule. Use that time to ask your simple questions and just to get to know them. It can be a bit ridiculous to see a professor during office hours for one question, but it’s not ridiculous at all to ask that question before or after class.

Departmental Clubs

During the few years of my college career I got involved with Sociology Club at my university. This was extremely helpful for me because it allowed me to get to know my Sociology professors outside of class and it allowed me to get involved more with my major. If you want to be even more involved hold an office within your departmental club. This is a surefire way to get to know either your professor more, or professors you might have in your department.

Events

Your department may not have these, if they don’t suggest them. Each semester my department in undergrad had various ways for students to get to know professors. Through our Sociology Club who helped get students to the event we had a meet and greet toward the end of every semester. All the professors pitched in and got various foods at the event and the professors all came to the event to talk with interested students about the major and their courses. It was a fun way to show that you were interested outside of the classroom and a fun way to get to know professors. You can find out a lot about a professor based on which dish they bring to a party.

We also have a semesterly award ceremony that all majors were invited to. This was another way for us to get to know the professors and eat food. Who doesn’t love eating food? Also we celebrated all the amazing students who came through our doors.

I hope you enjoyed these 8 tips on building a relationship with your professor. Remember that not all relationship builders are active. Your professor can learn a lot about you through passive actions such as turning in your work on time, getting to class on time, preparing for class, etc. Remember that your image is being calculated all the time, and it’s not just composed of what you say to your professor verbally.

In Academics on
July 31, 2014

How To Get Involved In College Like A Go Getter

Today I am talking about getting involved at college. It can be hard for high schoolers to transition to college involvement. It’s easy to be involved in high school where there are ways less organizations to join and things to do. At my school there are 200+ RSOs (or so they say…) so the struggle of finding which ones fit you best can be hard. I am here to give you my tips on how to get involved–but first. A word from the lovely people who sent in responses to my survey.

 How To Get Involved In College Like A Go Getter | Getting involved in college is important, click through to find out how to get involved on your college campus like a go getter.

So now on to my tips for getting involved like a go getter:

Pick your battles

Getting involved at college takes ten times more effort than getting involved in high school. The organizations you join will be making a difference in your campus community and doing a lot for your college town. You can’t join a college organization and expect to do zero work. There will be meetings to attend and things to do. If your college organizations aren’t this organized, you should re-consider what you are getting involved in. Only commit to a few organizations your first semester and grow out if you feel comfortable doing so.

Attendance is not commitment

During the first of the year it is totally acceptable to attend many meetings and only go back to a few. Just because you go to a meeting once, it doesn’t mean you have to go back every time. Only go back if you want to. Don’t feel the need to sign in to those pesky organization sheets that they pass around, only sign up for them if you are genuinely interested. The last thing you need is a bunch of emails from a group that you don’t really care about. Also there’s no need to have those people trying to recruit you if you don’t care about the organization.

Explore everything.

College organizations are a great way to explore everything you might be interested in exploring! Explore your passions, your major, a sisterhood, whatever you decide to explore. If you can’t explore things in college, when can you actually explore them. There are so many clubs for so many different things in college you’d be a fool not to at least try them once.

Don’t be afraid to say no.

Just like with budgeting, it’s important that you are okay with saying no to organizations. If you don’t want to hold that leadership position or do that certain thing–you should feel confident in your ability to just say no. It feels strange that I am saying this to you now, but you will thank me when you have two tests and three papers that need written all in the next few weeks and an organization that wants you to paint a banner. Education comes first. Don’t major in your involvements while you are in college.

Don’t think you have to join just one type of club.

Greek life is great, but not the end all be all. There are plenty of successful people who have never went through Greek life. It is possible to be successful and not join a Greek organization. If you want to be Greek, Go Greek and have an amazing time. If that is not where you see your loyalties–don’t push it. Greek organizations are great because they open a lot of doors, but they aren’t a required part of the college experience. You may have to work a little harder to open those doors on your own, but you can still be successful without letters. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

In Academics on
February 6, 2014

5 Tips to Writing Great Papers

Today I am giving you a how to on writing great papers! Writing is one of my strong points when it comes to college—which is great because I am not great at:

  1. Labs
  2. Feigning Interest
  3. Waking up happy
  4. Not procrastinating
  5. Being alert

Etc…I could go on a while.

 5 Tips For Writing Great Papers | Writing papers can be really daunting for any college student. Click through for five tips any college student can use to create great papers that will wow your professors and help them love your paper!

*Picture by Adobe Stock contributor arekmalang

You can think of paper writing as building the layers of a human being. You can have a fully fleshed and working human being—you can have just the bare bones, you can have the bones with some muscle and fat on top. You are fleshing out your paper so that you aren’t turning in just the bare bones. In paper writing bare bones aren’t acceptable.

Read the Directions

The first way to make sure you are writing an excellent paper—is to read the instructions. I know this seems like a simple task, but you’d be surprised how many mistakes could be solved by just reading and understanding the directions. Make sure you know what your teacher expects of you, and if you are still on the fence about it—ask!

Over my years as a student I have seen so many people get confused by the directions and what they are supposed to do. There is confusion when it comes to font, word length, citation style, and a whole lot more. It’s better to be safe than sorry–read the directions as soon as you can so you can ask questions as soon as you can!

Make an Outline

What do you want this paper to do? What do you want it to look like? This is your bare bones project. This is what you start to flesh out later. Your outline may change from time to time, but it’s important to start somewhere. The best place to start is by stating what you want each section of your paper to look like.

I don’t always outline my papers, sometimes the layout just comes to me. When I am feeling at a loss for what I want to do I definitely take the time to outline my papers so that I get the best papers. Once you have a good and informative outline in place it becomes a million times easier to just fill it in and really work on your paper. Having an outline also makes it easier to jump around in your paper. Not sure quite yet how you plan to write about paragraph 1 and 2, skip to paragraph 3! Having a good outline is pretty awesome!

Start

The best thing you can do after you make your outline is to start on the paper. Write each piece bit by bit, and just write until you finish the paper. This won’t be your final draft—don’t worry. One of the most important things to remember in my opinion when writing a paper or doing any class assignment is that the hardest part is starting. Over my years of being a student I have realized that again and again. Starting your paper will be the best thing that you can do for it.

Add Some Flesh to That Muscle

Right now you have muscle and fat. Now it’s time to add some flesh to that muscle! Go through your paper and elaborate, re-word, and make sure that your paper flows correctly from thought to thought. It’s important that you do this to make sure you are being a thorough as possible.

Trim out that fatty content too. You probably used a contraction or five throughout your paper. You may have stated something twice or misspelled a word. Do a spelling and grammar check and also go throughout the paper with your own two eyes.

One tip that I have been loving lately if you have a Macbook like I do, in Pages there is a setting called speaking. I tell you exactly how to access the feature in the image below, but it is my absolute favorite feature for figuring out what isn’t quite right when I have a big paper that I am writing for class. I will let the computer speak to me, it has a pretty natural voice for a computer. When it comes across a word that it has a hard time saying or a sentence that doesn’t sound quite right I will go in and fix that word or sentence. I am sure that other platforms also have this feature, but I know for sure that Pages does.

Get a Second Opinion

Once you have looked your paper over with care give the instructions and your draft to someone to look over. Think about the criticism that they gave your paper and see how you can change your paper for the better. You may not use every single suggestion—and that’s okay!

A lot of universities have great writing centers that are there to help you at literally any stage of the writing process. They can really sit down with you and help you make sure that your paper doesn’t have any faults or isn’t missing any crazy amounts of flesh or muscle. Just make sure that you know exactly what you want them to look for and that you are prepared for the appointment you make with them. Also be sure to make an appointment early. You want to make sure you actually have time to go over the paper and use their suggestions. There is no point in going to the writing center if you don’t have time to use the changes they suggest.

Triple Check for Accuracy

Now it’s time to look through your directions one last time and make sure that your paper answers every questions, cites every reference, and does everything that the teacher wants it to do. The best thing about papers is they are highly subjective but you can usually still have a checklist of facts that make your paper a good or bad paper. Just by going through your paper one more time I know that you will have a great paper that your teacher will adore!

I hope these tips were helpful for you all. What are your best paper writing tips?

Check out my post How To Write A Kick Ass Introductory Paragraph to learn how to make a great first paragraph.

In Academics on
September 21, 2013

How To Deal With a Failing Grade in college

So I just got a wonderful question from a reader. She has been working amazingly hard this semester but it’s not seeming to help with having great test grades. She wanted to know how to deal with these failing grades so I decided to write this advice post. This is my advice on how to deal with a failing test grade without crying, dying, or sleeping!

 How To Deal With A Failing Grade In College | Failing in college can often be really detrimental for college students. Students may get discouraged by a failing grade on a test or assignment and this will stop them from performing at their best in other avenues of college life. There are ways to rebound from a failing grade so click through for my tips on dealing with a failing grade in college.

I Have Failed Before

Okay so first off I want to start with a story time. I have failed tests before. I have failed tests in Physical Science and American Nation I to be exact—all in college. I ended up with a B in both of them, honestly I don’t know how I did it with the American Nation class, but I do understand the B in Physical Science so I will explain that more lol. We had multiple tests in Physical Science, the worst test grade was dropped and then there was a comprehensive final. I tried to do my absolute best on the tests—but no matter what I did I would end up with a low grade. Fortunately I was able to study for the final with all the old tests and then I made a really high grade on the final and ended up passing the class with an 80/B!
When you get back your test I want you to do a couple of things:

Observe yourself

Remember how much work you spent covering each topic. Did you cover something a lot that wasn’t really even featured on the test? Did you not cover the things on the bulk of the test enough? Think about these things. Of all the time you spent studying was it as effective as you thought? For example this past week I had a test in my Perspectives of Communication class, it wasn’t a failing grade but after I got to the test I realized that I spent time studying the big picture, while she was into studying the smaller picture and expanding out toward the bigger picture. She loved the picky little details, and I’d never really had a teacher like that—not even in my History classes.

Refocus Yourself

Mark the questions that confused you the most on your test. Go to your teacher’s office hours or set up an appointment. Get this nipped in the bud now before it becomes something bigger than what you can handle. Come with specific questions about the test questions if you can. That always helps if you can get as specific as possible. Ask for some pointers or tips on test taking if this is a recurring thing. Maybe you are going about studying all wrong. If you are studying all the wrong material ask for help on identifying material that needs to be studied most. This applies if you realized earlier that the bulk of what you studied wasn’t on the test at all or very little. Ask other kids in the class how they studied, especially if they got an A or B. 

Organize Yourself

Get yourself organized for the next test. Take the advice from your classmates and professors and apply it to your study habits for that class. Start from the day you get the grade for that test—or better yet before you get the test grade back. Just start studying as soon as you can and add new study methods in later. 

Other things to note

  1. Don’t let your failing grade define you. You are not your test grade. Don’t let a failing grade define you for the rest of the semester. It’s possible and very likely to come out from under one failing grade. I have done it and I know you can too.
  2. Be Positive: In your room put up an A wall. With every A you get whether it’s a paper, quiz, test, or homework pin it up and be proud of it. Even pin up some Bs too. Strive for those grades. Make the As you have gotten the first thing you see in the morning. Write inspirational sayings and keep them on your desk or make them your computer background. Keep positive things around you at all times.
  3. Realize You’re Awesome: Regardless of the grade you got on your test realize that a ton of people and I think you’re awesome! You are an awesome person, with an awesome brain, and one failing grade is not going to determine who you are. 

I hope this has helped anyone who is having a rough start to the year. Love all my readers, and don’t fret over one bad grade. Your grades don’t define you.