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Hello My Name Is… How to Introduce Yourself to Your Professors

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mizzou chapter.

You might know that she sips on a tall Starbucks drink every morning during your 8 a.m., or that his desktop background is a picture of him with his wife and three kids. But how much do you actually know about your professors? And, on another note, how much do they know about you? Going in to ask your professor about what exactly opportunity cost is or how cell division works is a lot less intimidating after the initial introductions are over.
So how exactly do you introduce yourself to your professors? Her Campus Mizzou has a few tips for you on how to make sure that your teacher will recognize you among the sea of faces in your big lecture class in Middlebush.
Set Up a Meeting.
Now that classes have started, and we’re in the swing of things, it’s understandable if you feel a little awkward staying after class. This is your opportunity to visit your professor during the frequently mentioned “office hours.” Attending office hours works to your advantage. You’ll get to visit your professor where she spends most of her time outside of class. Among pictures of her family and friends, and when she’s sitting in a comfortable leather desk chair, she’ll be more relaxed and at ease. If you want to give her a fair warning, drop her an e-mail and ask if you can stop by. During syllabus week professors give students their office hours and availability for a reason. Professors love visitors during office hours, so they’ll be very excited to see you!
First of all, call him or her by the appropriate title.
Mr. or Mrs.? Professor? Doctor? If you aren’t sure how to address him, look back at the syllabus. Calling a professor a doctor when he doesn’t have a doctorate degree might make him a little uncomfortable. When in doubt, stick to professor. It’s always appropriate, especially for first introductions. In the future if he would like you to call him “Dan” or “Mike,” you’ve graduated to a first name basis. Congrats!
Cover the Basics.
Name. Year. Hometown. Name. Year. Hometown. Just like you need to memorize spelling rules like “I before e except after c,” you need to memorize the essentials for introducing yourself to any new person you meet. When meeting your professor, state your full name, year in school and where you’re from. A little context behind who you are will help your professor remember you and will also give him an opportunity to tell you about his personality and credentials.
Explain what the class means to you.
It’s OK to tell the professor how you feel about the class. If you’re nervous, let her know why. Never taken biology before? Or did you have a tough time with it in high school? Let her know what you struggled with, and she can offer you study tips or help you to get in touch with a teaching assistant. Excited about the class? Let her know that you’ve waited to get in to her class for two semesters and that you couldn’t be more thrilled to be taking it. Opening up about what the class means to you will break down any barriers of insecurity you have about meeting with your professor.
Prepare a question or two.
You might have a specific question to ask about a certain concept or expectations about the syllabus. If you just want to meet with your professor in order to establish a relationship and don’t have any questions in mind, then HerCampuscan help! Ask what study tips your professor recommends for retaining information in the course. You can also ask what the professor has noticed about the best ways for students to succeed in the class. Furthermore you can ask about how the course will help you with your major or future career goals. Professors have extensive background in the subjects they teach and will be able to help you apply the course material to your future plans. Believe it or not we have to take prerequisites for a reason — they do have a higher purpose!

Extra Credit: Bring up something you read or saw that applies to the class.
Bringing an apple to your teacher is so last century, but bringing in an article or fact that you’ve already read about is just as enticing to a professor. College is all about exchanging and absorbing knowledge in order to apply it in the future. Who better to collaborate with than your professor? Showing a genuine interest in the course will make you the “teacher’s pet” — in a good way!
HC Insider Tip:Following our tips is especially important when you are dealing with professors who teach subjects you’re genuinely interested in or who teach courses you know you might have difficulty in.
Behind the extensive knowledge they possess, professors are real people. Individuals who enter the fields of academia in the university setting are eager to share their knowledge and get to know the people they’re sharing it with. By taking the first step to get to know these skilled individuals, you just might find yourself with a lifelong connection and friend!

Vanessa Meuir is senior majoring in magazine journalism and English. She was born in St. Louis, MO and raised in Columbia, MO where she now attends school. In addition to her involvement with Her Campus Mizzou, she works in Mizzou's athletics department and serves as a writing tutor for students on campus. She has gained most of her journalistic experience while writing and blogging for the Columbia Missourian, a local newspaper, and Vox magazine, a student-run campus magazine. She also gained some publishing experience while interning at The Missouri Review, a literary magazine. When Vanessa is not working or in class, she enjoys maintaining a personal blog that comments on reality television, spending time with her five roommates, reading and dabbling in amateur photography. Among her favorite things are diet coke, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Disney Channel and fuzzy socks.