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Getting to know your professors
Natalie TannerOctober 09, 2017
When I was a first-year student, I thought, “Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to go and
introduce myself to my professors. But (a) how scary! and (b) I don’t want to look
like some crazy grade grubber.”
But here’s the thing: First-year me was so wrong. Professors aren’t scary. They want
to get to know you. And you won’t look like some crazy grubber. Having a real relationship
with your professors can help you in class now and in the long run as you go through
Professors are not against you, but it’s hard for them to help you if you are just
another face in the crowd. During the first week of class, go and introduce yourself.
Shake your professor's hand, if appropriate. Be confident, and tell them why you're
excited to learn about the subject they are teaching or to have them as a professor.
If you miss out on introducing yourself up front, go to their office hours to say
hello and maybe ask a question you didn't get the chance to ask in class.
Creating relationships with professors is super important if you are planning on pursuing more
education after college or starting a career in a professional field. Graduate program
admission committees, as well as future employers, often look for a letter of recommendation
from a professor about a potential candidate. I imagine it would be quite horrific
to ask a professor who barely knows you for a letter of recommendation. Could you
imagine what they would even write?
“Uh yes, I knew Sarah, she used to sit three rows back and was always on her phone
during class, but as far as I can remember she did just fine otherwise.” Yikes.
So please, on your first day of class, work up the confidence to go and introduce
yourself. Who knows, maybe the professor to whom you introduce yourself will be the
one who makes your future education and job possible.
P.S. Also, some professors are just really cool. After meeting them, you may think,
“I really want to get coffee with them and pick their brain.” And once you've built
that relationship, there may be a chance for you to do that!
is a senior studying Psychology and Human Services. Natalie is the senior resident
assistant of North Hall, a Social Media Ambassador for UNC, a former radio host and
an avid Amy Poehler fan. After graduation, she plans to go to graduate school and
become a therapist.
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