Your Professor Could Be Your Biggest Connection

At the beginning of every semester, I make a point to visit each of my professor’s office hours simply to introduce myself. I usually get shocked looks and am told how prudent I am for stopping by, as it seems few students venture into the back alleys of the faculty offices.

However, after I stop by the first time, it makes it easier to stop by later when I need help or need advice. The relationships developed with professors can lead to internships, opportunities and extra support later in the semester. I know because I’ve seen the magic myself during my junior and senior year of high school dual-enrolling at my local community college.

It was the summer before my senior year, and I was taking college algebra and English comp 1. I liked my classes and was doing well in them. I made a point to say hello to my professors whether it was five minutes after class or just stopping by during office hours. My English professor noticed, and went above and beyond his job too. He recognized my abilities in writing and recommended I begin working for the school newspaper. I was honestly shocked that he actually cared enough to tell me I could do more.

Within a week, I was writing for the student newspaper, and the following semester I became the editor in chief of the paper. Looking back, I don’t know if I would’ve ever seen enough in myself to believe I could write for a publication, but my professor did.

This same professor also recommended I work with a previous editor of the college paper I was at on a local court case being reported on by a film director from Boston. I remember almost saying, “Nah, I’m good.” But I didn’t. I decided to begin working on covering the local court case. The film director I met became a mentor to me, and he even offered me an internship in Boston at his company for six weeks over the summer, which I gladly accepted.

More recently, my mass communication teacher was teaching a class of 70 students, but told me one day that if I ever needed a recommendation letter, all I’d have to do is ask him for one. Why did he do this? Because I took time out of my day to interact and connect. It’s what makes a teacher’s day, and it’s what makes their job worth doing.

All that to say that professors have the ability to connect you with people who will help you succeed. Your first step is saying you care by stepping into their office. Ask them about who they are and why they chose to study in their field.

They can be a great help, especially when you first get into college. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do or maybe you need help finding opportunities in your chosen field.

Joining the student newspaper was my first step in realizing I wanted to go into journalism.

When professors know you care, they make an extra effort to help you reach your goals in the class and your future career. 

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