I know. I know it’s tough to talk to your college professors. Sometimes they can seem intimidating, but you have to communicate with them. You need to talk to your professors so you can get help when you need it, get guidance with what major to have or what classes to take, and gain a wealth of knowledge about the field you have chosen. Wait for the end of class to get some one on one time with your professors or simply email them or if even call them during their office hours.
During my years at Rochester Institute of Technology as an undergraduate, I mostly communicated with my professors via email. It’s fast and easy to do. Sometimes I would need clarification on my photography projects so I would send an email to my professor. Sometimes I just needed to get more information for the test we were going to have so of course I would shoot my professor with an email. If you’re going to be late arriving in class, going to be absent for the day, or your project is going to be late (which of course was never the case for me) make sure to at least email your professor, but for matters like these, matters that can possibly affect your grade, make sure to call your professor, or better yet, if you can speak to your professor one on one.
Talking to your professors can also help guide your path in college. I spoke to one of my professors after class and I had expressed to my professor my newly brewing passion for graphic design. My roommate in college was a graphic design major and I had often been exposed to the beauty of graphic design and had often heard about being a graphic designer can make one more marketable so I began to question whether I was in the right major. My professor and I talked about whether it was a good idea for me to switch to the graphic design major.
My professor and I weighed the pros and cons to a decision like switching to a new major. One of the negative aspects to switching to graphic design I had learned was that I was not going to be graduating on my target date, which meant I had to spend at least another year in college, which meant I could not get that fulltime job I was longing for to help me pay my mountainous pile of bills. I expressed my dissatisfaction to my professor about graduating late and he suggested that perhaps I look into a major called Visual Media. Visual media was a major that mixed photography classes, graphic design classes, and management classes. With this major, I learned that I was on the right track already and I had taken the classes needed for this major and I just needed to add some graphic design classes and management classes and voila I was going to be graduating on time.
I mulled the prospect of becoming a Visual Media major further and in the end decided that this was the best choice for me. Deciding to talk to my professor about my new interest in the graphic design field was very important because if I had not I would have switched to the graphic design major and ended up graduating late. Plus with the Visual Media major I did gain the graphic design skills I needed.
Last, but not least make sure to talk to your professors because they are a fountain of knowledge. One of my classes was typography and at first I was not very interested in this class. To me it was a waste of time because during that time I had decided that Helvetica was going to be my go to typeface. Helvetica was the end all, be all of all typefaces. I had practically vowed and given my oath to use Helvetica and only Helvetica. I mean there was Helvetica regular then there was Helvetica Neue Ultra Light. That’s all I really needed to know, right? Well one day I talked to my typography professor and he suggested I read other typography books besides what was assigned in class and that I do some research online about different typefaces. Low and behold there were other typefaces I liked. I found out I liked Frutiger, Century Gothic, Sabon, and much more.
During my college years I learned how important my professors were because they became my guide during uncertain times in my college years. Those uncertain times included and were not limited to not knowing how to do my project properly, all the topics that were going to be covered during the test, what major I should have been in, what classes to take, and what typefaces to use. Of course as a college student you will have uncertainty because you are transitioning from a mere teenager with enough passion and smarts to get into college to a professional adult and expert in your field of choice. Be open to your professors’ advice and do the extra things they might assign you to do. Your professor has your best interests in mind. Honestly, I would have not be the person that I am without all of the help my professors gave me so I take my hat off to them for being my guiding stars while I was navigating the treacherous waters called my undergraduate years.
Here is a video I made about how important it is to talk to your professors.