Building Ties With Your Professors

Building relationships within university circles can be endlessly useful. These relationships could open doors for various opportunities inside and outside of campus, allow you to gain valuable work, volunteer or research experience and provide you with solid references for your post-graduation plans, whether that be straight to work, grad school, volunteering etc. Close ties with a professor is arguably the most coveted asset one could have; professors offer years of advice and experience to students as well as proving a gateway to significant new opportunities. Many students find internship or research opportunities through their professors, get a chance to work with them or just generally develop closer ties, and thus gain more knowledge from their supervisors.

Getting to know your professors, and conversely, allowing them to get to know you, is a valuable step in the right direction. Generally, professors are there to assist students in any way that they can and are open to meeting with students who are interested in the work they are carrying out. Moreover, many professors rely on their students for help with research, work or laboratory assistance and often turn to students with whom they are familiar with. On the other hand, students rely on professors for help with the material being taught and many for supervising their own independent study and research. That being said, the quality of your work must always coincide with your eagerness to build a relationship with your professor; your work attests to the kind of student you are and, by extension, your reliability.

There is no uniform way to build a relationship with your professors. Office hours is a good start, as is active participation in class and showing a general enthusiasm for the course and the course material. Making yourself stand out as someone who is wholeheartedly committed to the class – and to their studies – is a great start and professors will notice who are the more committed students in a class. If you find yourself extremely interested in a class or topic and could see yourself continuing in a similar area, don’t be afraid to actively show it. Ask questions, participate in discussion and go further. Look into the research that your professor has previously conducted in the class and what they are working on now and if that interests you. The limitation of class time restricts the amount of knowledge that can be imparted and so it is always a good idea to approach your professor with more questions and request a deeper comprehension.

Once you’ve succeeded in building a relationship, no matter how small, don’t be afraid to ask if there is any tasks or research opportunities you could work on or if there are any external opportunities they could recommend – most professors appreciate your enthusiasm and will offer any advice or help they can. McGill offers many research and internship opportunities for students and much of these rely on establishing a relationship with a professor. So step out of your comfort zone and make the leap: the worst that could happen is that nothing comes of it. Either way, you lose nothing and you learn a lot.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.