Sometimes I think it is hard – or even scary! – for college students to interact with their professors. My freshman year, I felt exactly the same way and so I avoided office hour visits unless I had important questions to ask and didn’t spend much time raising my hand in class. However, getting to know your college professors is a really important way to not only do well in class but to gain valuable connections that could help you potentially land a future internship/job in your field! Although you may feel awkward approaching them, remember – professors are human too, and they want to help you.
Your professors are teaching your classes for a reason – because they are experts in those subjects! Take advantage of their intelligence by asking questions during office hours or after class on material you are confused about. If the professors are offering study sessions before exams, make sure to attend! Aside from class material, ask your professor more about the subject or field if you are thinking about pursuing it. Chances are, your professor will love sharing their own journey to that career and will have tons of advice about what you should be doing in college to get yourself on the right path for after graduation.
A big reason to get to know your professor is the oftentimes large social network professors have. Professors are often connected to important people in the industry, and can point you in the right direction for internship or job opportunities. Networking is such a crucial part of the job search, and starting early in college will absolutely help you later on in life.
3. Letters of Recommendation
Lastly, another reason why getting to know your college professors personally is important is because they can offer you a powerful tool for landing your future job/internship: a letter of recommendation gushing over your talents and abilities. Letters of recommendation written by the right person can be the difference between getting the job and needing to keep searching. Having a highly respected professor say wonderful things about you on why you are hirable is wonderful, indeed.
This upcoming year is the perfect chance to reach out to all of the resources offered at your college and take advantage of them. One such resource that is often underused and forgotten about are your professors. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them, because they truly can make your college experience more meaningful and provide knowledge, advice, and tools to help you with your journeys in college and beyond.
Casey is a college junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying journalism and strategic communication. Casey enjoys chocolate, horror movies, and Netflix binge-watching. She swears she’s normal(ish).