Navigating friendly vs. formal professors
By now, you’ve gotten your room set up, organized your classes on your schedule, and backpack ready to go for those first few weeks back to class. Everything is going great until you figure out that your professors aren’t what you thought they would be!
In high school, there was a huge belief that the heavier workload, strict assignments, and difficult grading system were going to “prepare you for college.” However, you aren’t really prepared for college until after that first week of classes and after you have assessed your workload.
When you meet your professors for the first time, some are super laid back and relaxed — “call me by my first name, prof, professor, use your judgment.” Others are very formal — “my name is Ms. Smith, please call me Professor Smith, and my grading scale is a little tougher than others.”
How do you keep that high standard for Ms. Smith’s class up while still learning how to relax a little bit and enjoy the class with your laid back professor. I call this situation the “Personal / Professional Dilemma” and as a new student, it can be very daunting.
As a Senior, the best advice I can give about tackling this dilemma for the freshmen is to establish standards early. Just because a professor is more or less strict about their policies, doesn’t mean you should change your work ethic!
When you start using your checklists, calendars, and taking notes, take note of what the professor is like. Keep track of classroom rules and of course, READ YOUR SYLLABUS! It’s the easiest way to learn the personal and professional switch.
By tracking information about your class, homework, deadlines AND your professor’s personality and preferences, you can stay reminded of the little things about the class that can make a huge difference.
Tip: Using LifeSpace to keep track of everything about school and your personal life is an absolute lifesaver! It will help you organize your classes, link course bookmarks, take notes, setup todos and checklists and helps maintain awareness of the standards you set for interaction with each professor. It sets you on the right path, right from the beginning.
Good luck this semester!
Keep Looking Up!
–Ange C. NU ‘20