Try making time for your professors

WHEN I HEARD that academic advising is now required for all incoming students, I thought it was a great idea.

Now students are required to see their advisers at least once a semester to make sure they are on track with their classes. This is extremely helpful, because students often get confused about what they need to take for their majors.

Talking to an adviser can ensure they graduate according to plan. The guidance of an advisor is invaluable.’

With this in mind, I can’t understand why students would be hesitant to visit their advisers. And I know that many are.’
I suppose that not all advisers are as focused on their students as they should be, but this means that we should demand more of them.

After all, if every student on campus has to see an adviser, then they need to step up and provide their services without the aloofness some professors are known for — the reason why some students would want to avoid them.

Then I remembered that when I was a sophomore, I wasn’t really keen on talking to my professors, either.

At that time, my older brother was a senior and a dedicated philosophy major. He would visit his favorite profs during their office hours all the time, which bewildered me.

What could they possibly be talking about, and how could he consider them to be his (gasp) friends?

For a long time, I had trouble thinking of my teachers as real people.

They have lives outside of school, families, grocery shopping to do. But to me, they were authority figures, nothing more than an entity in a classroom. Their sole purpose was to assign homework and give me a grade.

When I would see a teacher coming toward me as I walked to class, I had to suppress the urge to duck behind a tree to avoid having to talk to them and face an almost certainly uncomfortable conversation.

Yet, even this isn’t entirely true. In elementary school, I was attached to my teachers. I even cried when my 3rd grade teacher told the class she was moving to Colorado.

I think things changed by the time I got to high school, where the classes were bigger and I had multiple teachers to keep track of at once.

In the general education classes at Fresno State, it’s even more difficult when you’re sitting in a huge room with 200 other kids.

A greater distance is created between teacher and student. A student begins to feel anonymous in a sea of faces, and apathy for the class can set in.

That’s where this academic advising comes in.
Students have the advantage of meeting with a professor face to face and get individualized attention.

You get the chance to ask questions about your major and the professional field you’re interested in. You can build a working relationship with this professor, a mentor of sorts.

If you are thinking about going to graduate school or getting a job after you graduate, you can ask this professor to write you a letter of recommendation.

Hopefully by that point, you will have someone that knows you and your accomplishments well enough to speak on your behalf.

I noticed a change in my attitude towards professors when I became a tutor at the Writing Center (located in the Education building, room 184; come visit us sometime). I was often working with freshmen and if they were having particular trouble with a paper, I found myself asking them if they had talked to their teachers about it.

I don’t know why I was surprised when they often said no.

I had to explain that’s why they have office hours, folks. They are here to help you. They are in the best position to offer clarification.

So go make an appointment to see your adviser. While you’re at it, stop by to see your other professors during their office hours.

They get lonely sometimes. Have a conversation.

You might find that they have something cool to say. It could be a truly enlightening experience.

Don’t forget: professors are people, too.

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