9 Ways to Milk Your Professors for Everything They’re Worth!

9 Ways to Milk Your Professors for Everything They’re Worth!

Are your professors really telling you everything they know? When I first stepped into the university, I was convinced that I would learn almost everything I would need for my professional career there. I quickly realized I was wrong, and that the university is just the starting point for a lifelong learning process — and that the most valuable learning comes from experience. Every time you do something for the first time and every mistake you make will make you a better person and professional. However, university professors are there to open your mind — not only to provide theory and practice, but to a whole professional world, as well. Here are nine ways to get the best out of the time you spend in the university and get the best out of your professors. 1. Attend classes

The simple act of being present may be enough to open more doors for you. Image credit:

The simple act of being present may be enough to open more doors for you. Image credit:

First of all, you have to realize that going to classes is the first and maybe one of the most necessary habits you need to instill during your time at university. This will put you in a position to get to know your professors and understand the objectives of their courses. You won’t always be 100 percent interested in everything or like all of your professors, but believe me, there is something to learn from every subject. One day when you’re designing that project you’ll be thinking, “I should have attended those classes!” Going to classes will also help you get to know your colleagues. In addition to being your party friends, they are your future professional relationships — maybe even your partners or competition. Keep a good relationship with them, make a good impression, and be reliable. That will pay off someday! 2. Ask questions To make the most of attending classes, listen carefully — no matter how difficult it might sometimes be — and don’t hesitate to ask questions. No matter how stupid you might think your question is, ask it or you will regret it later. Moreover, in most cases, everyone else wants to ask the same question but doesn’t dare to look stupid. You’ll get things clear, you’ll learn something, and your professor will remember you. The simple fact of asking shows that you are willing to learn and that you are invested in her class. Not bad for a first impression?
Qestion everything! Photo credit: Duncan Hull, CC 2.0

Question everything! Photo credit: Duncan Hull, CC 2.0. Modification by SDR

3. Get familiar with his/her work Whether you like your professor or not, think about what you know about the person standing in front of you. Take some time to get to know who he is and what he does outside of class. In our field, most professors have their own companies or work somewhere else in addition to the university, which can be very interesting and open you to new ideas and questions. Why not propose discussions about those ideas in class? There is no better way to learn something new than from first-hand experience. 4. Ask for professional advice
Ask for consultation now, before it costs you 100's of dollars as a professional. Image credit:

Ask for a consultation now, before it costs you 100’s of dollars as a professional. Image credit:

Those consultation hours, when you can go and talk to your professor privately in her office to ask for advice about your schoolwork, can also be used to ask for professional orientation and advice. Whether you’re confused about your career path or knowing what you want, it’s always good to discuss it with someone who has experience. You might reconsider your decisions afterward. 5. Use small talk whenever you can Do not underestimate small talk — it can get you remembered and you can learn little things about your professors. The secret is to be curious about what they do and let them talk. People love talking about themselves, and that will help you stand out among the number of students they cross paths with daily. 6. Ask for a recommendation letter At, the end of the year (after having been a great student, by attending classes, being curious, and asking questions), you have developed a professional relationship with your professor. He knows who you are and what you’re up for. This is the time to ask for a recommendation letter that will certainly serve you in your future career. Don’t be shy! The first step toward receiving is simply asking! 7. Get to know about internship possibilities Internships are an important part of transferring to the professional world. However, they aren’t easy to get. Asking your professor for advice on where to look for opportunities might improve your chances. You might not only receive directions, but might even get a direct contact in a company. Related Articles: 

8. Get mentored Of course, you won’t go to your professor and ask him “would you be my mentor?” But that will happen organically as you develop a professional relationship with him. All the previous steps will plant the seed of such a relationship, but don’t forget that you will need to nurture and maintain that relationship like a garden in order to see it flourish. 9. Be curious about his/her career choice As landscape architects and planners, we have numerous career options. Not many of us, however, consider teaching as the most interesting one. Here is the chance to find out what made it an attractive choice for your professor. There might be more to it that you can imagine. Your professors can only open the doors to unlimited learning — the rest is up to you. Mastering any profession demands a lifetime of dedication and passion. The university, with its friendly environment, is a great place to start. Take the most of the hidden opportunities and start creating your future. How are you getting the most out of your professors? Share your secrets with us! Recommended Reading:

Article by Article by Yulia Georgieva. Return to Homepage

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