Monkey Hear, Monkey Should Do

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By Courtney Steele
csteele@smu.edu

When I was looking at colleges, I remember at every information session/student panel I attended, one thing was always emphasized and I couldn’t figure out why! “Go to professor’s office hours” and “get to know your professors.” As a high school senior in a K-12 school with teachers that had known me since day one for four years and known “my name” for longer than that, I couldn’t fathom what everyone was telling me – aren’t the professors scary? Do they really want to talk to me and learn about me? In short, the answers are, no and yes, they really do. I learned a little bit more about these lessons last year, but my experience thus far this year with my professors has been even better!

In my World of Shakespeare course this semester, one of my larger classes, our professor (yes, the one in the full white suit) is offering one point added to your final grade if you go and talk with him for a little bit just so he can get to know you. Confused? Yes, I did say one whole point added to your final grade! What a great deal! So first lesson, take professors up on every one of their offers to help your grade and listen to their encouragement to come and see them for help or just a chat – they really do care!

So, trying to be the best student I can, of course, I went and saw my English professor. Sitting in his office in the rotunda of Dallas Hall, shelves filled with Shakespeare literature and criticism, a comfy couch, an old wooden desk (just like you would imagine sitting in the quintessential old English intellectual’s office), we talked- not only about the class and our common fascination with Shakespearean literature, but about life. He knows where I went to high school, a little more about me: I know about his time in the army and what inspired him to become a college professor. It was actually a lot of fun to sit down with someone I probably wouldn’t get the chance to otherwise. Second piece of advice, go talk to your professor! Once they know who you are and you are comfortable with them, you’re much more likely to go see them when you need help. My visit with Professor Neel was definitely worth so much more than the extra credit point!

I really understand now what they’re talking about at those student panels and information sessions. I now wish I had understood and absorbed more of the advice at all of those campus visits. My overall lesson to you is, for the moment, listen to what they have to say at each campus visit, especially the students – they’re doing now exactly what you’ll be doing next fall!

That’s all for now! Hope you had a great week and have a fun weekend! Bye y’all!

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