Reader submission: Meet your professors outside the classroom

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You know that feeling when you suddenly realize your parents were right, and you’re not sure if you should admit it to them or not? You fear the dramatic head tilt with the eyebrow raise and those four dreaded words, “I told you so.” Being extremely stubborn and wanting to figure out life on my own, I have had quite a few of these moments.

But before setting off on my journey to college in the summer of 2009, I decided to embrace the fact that 95 percent of the time my parents were right in whatever advice they gave me. I learned to swallow my pride and really listen to what they had to say.

As the oldest in my immediate family and the oldest cousin on both sides, this whole “sending a kid off to college” was quite the voyage. The advice came in full force covering every topic, but the advice I held on to the most related to academics.

The advice came from my mother. She told me me, “Remember, the professors are there to help you, and make sure to utilize their office hours when you need help.”

In the beginning of my first semester after attending a few classes, I was thinking there was no way I would go and talk to the scary professor in a dark closet they called an office.

The truth is, I went back to my stubborn thoughts that my mom did not know what she was talking about. I was certain these professors wanted me to fail out of college. But after re-evaluating my thoughts on what my major would be, my second semester was full of different intro classes and other core classes to help me figure out what I wanted to do.

That was the semester I realized the beauty of office hours. At this point I was still lacking the confidence to ask questions in class, so I would write down my questions that arose in lecture and visit my professors during their office hours to clear up my confusion. I was truly helped by each professor I visited, and I was able to see a different personality from their lecture persona.

Throughout the following semesters, I gained relationships with professors that later helped me with recommendation letters because they actually knew me. I wasn’t just a face at a desk.

I even took my mom’s advice of meeting with my professors abroad when I studied abroad in South Africa. It was especially helpful in a foreign country because they helped me understand the culture on a more personal level.

Now, during my final year at Marquette, I pass through the halls of the academic buildings and different professors know me by name. They ask about my latest adventures, and more importantly, they actually care about my response. These professors helped me decide what I actually want to do in my future (which is fast approaching) and have helped me excel as a student.

So I am passing my mom’s advice to you: Go to your professor’s office hours. Almost all of them authentically want to help you, and the connections you make can help you far beyond your time at Marquette.

Shoshauna Schmidt, Senior,
College of Arts & Sciences

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