Looking for help with career development? Not sure what working your net really involves? Look no further! Throughout the semester, Brad’s Cool Career Corner will be providing you with the best tips and tricks of the game!
You’re finally starting to get the hang of this semester’s classes. But there’s something on your mind… You remember reading those words “office hours” in your syllabi. The corresponding times and locations maliciously wiggle and dance through your dreams like evil, limp pieces of spaghetti. In today’s edition, we provide tips for “bridging the gap” between classes and office hours. These tips can lead you to your ultimate goal: building relationships with professors.
Tip No. 1: Contribute noticeably in class. If you are trying to build relationships with your professors, you will want to make your presence known in class. Make sure to participate in discussion as much as possible, even if it’s not a discussion-based class. We recommend raising your hand after every complete statement that your professor makes. Don’t be afraid to show some aggression toward fellow students–this will show the professor that you’re truly committed to learning, even at others’ expense. If you’re a cis white guy, this should come naturally to you. The amount of resources and teacher attention you have received for the past 20 years have prepared you well.
Tip No. 2: Get to know your professor. To further aid your class participation, check out some, or all, of your professors’ published works. Read these carefully. When you hear the professor or a fellow classmate say something even remotely related to something you’ve read, raise your hand! Don’t be timid! The best kind of contributions are challenging to fellow students and maybe even your professor. For an example of a spot-on comment, we caught up with Kris ’17 on her way to Chemistry class.
Kris: Yesterday, at the beginning of Urban Studies, my classmates were enthralled by a womp-womp outside our window. I raised my hand. “Professor, I was reading your research on how prepubescent urban tree squirrels populations are affected by youths’ violent video game usage. I can’t help but notice the connection with what we’re seeing.”
Follow Kris’s example. Be bold and prepared!
Tip No. 3: “Build the bridge” between class and office hours. If you have advanced past levels one and two, you may have realized that there aren’t enough chances to share your knowledge with professors in class. That’s where office hours come in! Dave ’18 fills us in:
Dave: After sharing my knowledge of my professor’s research in class several times, I still felt like I had more to say. I built up the courage to go to office hours. I arrived 10 minutes early and swear I saw him rounding the corner from down the hall. It was rather unfortunate though, because for some reason, he never showed up and he canceled his office hours for several weeks in a row afterwards.
Don’t give up Dave, we believe in you!
Senior Snippet: You might be worried that you haven’t built enough professor relationships during your time here. It’s possible that you’re even still intimidated by the other students in your classes. And let’s face it: You’re running out of time (unlike us, who have secured lifetime employment at Goldman Sachs thanks to our stellar professor recommendations and histories as VPs of the Vassar Business Club). We strongly advise that you enroll in a freshman writing seminar next semester. As a senior in a class of first years, you’ll be slam dunking for the whole 75 minutes and your writing will be immaculate in comparison to that of your peers. Just be careful not to disclose your class year to anyone. If you run into problems with the registrar, consider taking the class not for credit. Either way, this is your chance to finally “bridge the gap,” or should we say, “build” “the bridge” or rather, the Bridge “Building.”
1Named after the great entrepreneur, inventor of Brad’s Granola. Brad, if you see this, we would appreciate if you could please send the recipe to Box 2180 at your earliest convenience.