Professors: The Do's and Don'ts

I know after reading the title, you think to yourself, "I've dealt with my high school teachers, I'm sure college professors will be just as fun." NEGATIVE. High school teachers are nothing like college professors. You may meet some really cool ones, and you may meet some not so cool ones.

The first point that I'd like to make is that some teachers are not classified as "professors" or you'll have "professors" and TA's. Let me help you on this one:

TA/AI - (Teaching Assistant/Assistant Instructor) Call them whatever you'd like, but make sure you at least know the name, face, and e-mail of them. This is because 99.9% of the time, they are in charge of grading your tests, projects, papers, etc. Some classes have 1 of them, some classes have several of them. It all depends on what kind of class you are attending.

Do: Make sure that you are familiar with your AI's, and go to at least ONE of their office hours. They carry great wisdom on how to succeed in the class and what path you should take after the semester is over if you are interested in pursuing the same field as them. They are there to answer your questions and more than likely, they'll appreciate the effort.

Don't: Come to the AI with a ton of complaints about the class. They are there to help you learn as efficiently as possible, not make the road easier for you. So preferably, keep the complaints about the professor to yourself.

Most of the time, the TA's are graduate or doctorate students so don't assume that they'll be available whenever to answer your e-mails at 1 am. They have work to do too, so cut them some slack.

PROFESSORS: These are the people that are in charge of everything. Whatever they say, goes. So don't by any means try to be sassy and voice your opinion every chance you get. However, some professors do like it when you speak up in class; just try to be civil and nice about it. On that note, you are not going to like every professor that you get. I can guarantee that you will get some professors and at the end of the semester, you'll complain about the grade you got just because the "professor was bad." But, you just have to move past it. Every student has come into contact with professors that they don't like and have been able to graduate just fine.

Do: Get to know your professor and visit as many of their office hours as you can. They'll be able to recognize you, which will help in class and they will appreciate the extra effort that you put in outside of the class. That shows them that you have passion, and what professor doesn't appreciate a student that has a passion for learning? Professors are also great resources for opportunities on campus such as jobs, internships, and let's not forget the oh-so-helpful recommendation letters for later on in life. (Yes incoming students, you're not done with recommendation letters quite yet.) So do your best to suck up as much as you can. I know it's "not always cool" to suck up to teachers, but what is cool about a low grade? Yeah, that's what I thought. So get to know them, they're actually really cool people if you give them the chance.

Don't: Smack talk them on any social media network or with any outside professors; just don't do it at all. I know that we all have those awful professors that make us suffer for 16 weeks out of the year, but complaining does absolutely nothing. If heard by the wrong ears, you could be in for some serious trouble. So just don't do it. I know as tempting as it may sound to complain about your professor that is killing you with homework, at least do it in the privacy of your own home.

Nonetheless, enjoy the next four years that you have here at Indiana University, professors and all. I know that they're related to schoolwork, but you never know when you'll see them around again. If you get to be friendly with them, make sure you stop and say hi to them if you ever see them on campus, I'm sure that you'll make their day. (:

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