Professor advice

Courtesy Douglas Leonard

As the first week of school comes to an end, it’s important to keep up the momentum. Here is advice from professors on how to succeed this year.

You enter college as teenagers and you leave as young adults. Here’s the good news: Your parents aren’t there to monitor your behavior – when you go to sleep, wake up, what you eat, where you go and with whom,etc.

Here’s the bad news: Your parents aren’t there to monitor your behavior – when you go to sleep, wake up, what you eat, where you go and with whom, etc. You need to monitor yourself. You need to get enough sleep. You need to eat well, exercise regularly. Every day, sit somewhere nice and just “chill” for a few minutes. Everything in moderation. Some classes are primarily reading: history classes. Some classes are analytical in nature: statistics, math and economics. Don’t take five reading classes in the same semester. Don’t take five analytical classes in the same semester. And take a class which you simply find interesting, regardless of whether it’s in your major or minor.

-Roger Frantz, economics

Believe in the ideas that you have while you are in college. If history is any guide, your most creative and passionate years will be the next few to come.

-Douglas Leonard, astronomy

1. Read the syllabus. You may not believe it, but most professors and instructors put a lot of thought and work into their syllabi, including due dates, the points of each assignment, and the descriptions of the class and assignment. Asking about things without checking the syllabus first communicatesto the instructor (rightly or wrongly) that you’re the kind of student who’s happy taking the easy way out rather than doing the extra work to make a good impression as a student and to do what’s necessary to excel in class.

2. Prepare. You’ve got a lot of classes and work, no doubt. And some professors might act as if their class is the only one you’re taking. But generally it’s a good guideline to put in at least an hour of studying or work in a class for every hour you physically attend class.

3. Consider your audience and the implications of your mediated messages. In short, don’t tweet or post things about the class or the instructor on Facebook that you wouldn’t want him or her to read. Your teachers are on Facebook and probably on Twitter and maybe even Tumblr. So, unless you want your tweets read in a class of 500 students (which I do from time to time with humorous ones), consider who the audience is for these messages and what your mediated messages might unintentionally communicate to them.

4. Ask questions and visit your instructors in their office hours. Your teachers are happy to answer questions, and it always makes a good impression when you show up for office hours.

5. Remember that school (and each class) is more like a marathon than a sprint. It takes perseverance. One bad grade doesn’t mean the class is a total failure. Keep at it, and ask your professor what you need to do to score better on the next assignment.

-Kurt Lindemann, communications

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Professor advice