Have you ever stopped to question whether or not your professor is a human being? Among other things, stepping foot in your professor’s office can do wonders for your self-esteem, and can give you an idea of how little you want to teach and acquaint you with the smell of a man who has been bathing in papers he needs edited for the last few semesters.

Dropping into your professor’s second home can give you numerous great opportunities. One of which is gaining an academic recommendation in virtue of giving him or her an idea of what you’re trying to get out of your time caged inside such a rigid institution. It’s very likely that you’ll not be using the fact that you graduated as a means to gain access into another academic institution. Having a friend who you’ve addressed as a human being will equip you with a letter that will make you look like one. The paper-pusher responsible for assessing your application for an internship in Africa isn’t looking for someone who can write a perfect paper, they’re looking for someone who is interested in bracing ideas and integrating course content into their lives. As such, a recommendation letter lauding your thesis statement on the industrial revolution’s effect on black and white photography isn’t going to get you very far.

You’ll also be able to catch a break when your girlfriend breaks up with you a week before your term paper is due and your only interests are eating jawbreakers and watching the entire run of The Wire for the fourth time. Your professor has gone through these experiences more times than he or she can probably count. If they’re interested in what you have to say on a topic, they’d likely prefer you’re writing at the top of your game. If you lost your paper when your computer overheated as a result of piece of bagel getting stuck in the fan intake, a professor you know would much rather give you an extra week so that you don’t have to rush something out of the door.

Gaining access to all of the readings they wish they could put on the syllabus is also a perk. How many times have you been sitting in the opening lecture of a class reading the schedule and wishing something you knew of were part the in-class discussion? Your professor probably knows of all of things you’d think of and more. They likely pared down the reading list because people just don’t do the work. Step into their office and blow their mind when you ask them about further readings! You can also avoid being the guy in class who slows down lectures by only being able to give half-baked explanations of extraneous material.

Speaking of slowing down classes, establishing a relationship with your professor can make the lecture better for everyone. Professors aren’t lying when they say that very few people ever come to see them. It shouldn’t be a surprise when they lose touch with what people hope to get out of the few hours a week they have devoted to a particular class. Going to see them one on one can enrich everyone’s experience and give your professor an idea of when the nuts and bolts of conducting a class are getting in the way of conveying important information.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley