Perhaps you are a freshman and are beginning your first semester at Mason. Perhaps you are a transfer student who is still getting used to the work load in your classes at Mason. Perhaps you are a veteran who is just transitioning from military to civic life. Regardless of where you are in your journey at Mason, there are many of us who feel intimidated by the person standing in front of our class: the professor.
One too many visits to ratemyprofessors.com can leave you either disappointed or with an inaccurate image of what your professors are actually like. Talk to anyone who is already a professional in your field, and they will tell you that connections are everything. They will emphasize that you need a couple of professors you can count on for a good recommendation letter.
The question is: how do you begin to develop a relationship with your professor?
Speaking from personal experience, it can feel a little intimidating to try and talk to your professors. After all, you have probably heard negative things about your professors from fellow classmates, or from other people who have already taken classes with them. I will try to help you out in this struggle as a student with some tips in the next couple of blog posts for how to establish relationships with your professors
Tip #1: Go to class!
The good thing is that to begin establishing a relationship, it does not involve you being alone with a professor, with your mind blank not knowing what to say. It all begins in the classroom. If you do not attend class regularly, do not count on your professor writing a nice recommendation letter for you. However, this is only half of what needs to be done. Not only do you need to show up to class, but you also need to show you actually care about the class. That does not mean you have to be the most passionate student your professor has ever had, but it does mean that you have to show a sincere interest in the material being taught.
It may be that you have to take the class because it is required for your major. Nevertheless, as a student you should be motivated to do well in your classes. Having the right attitude concerning your studies will go a long way in determining how much effort you put into the class. For example, if you are not already, try to sit in the front of the class. This may seem like a minor detail, but especially now that we are at the beginning of the semester, you want your professors to know who you are. Being at the front of the class makes you more visible to the professor, and lets them know that you are actually attempting to be engaged with the course. They might not visibly show, but professors do appreciate these small details with the amount of effort they put into teaching.
To be continued…