One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that being on good terms with people you depend on is a good idea. However, students are not very keen on trying to strike friendly relations with their professors. Probably due to the difference in age – when you are 18 all people over 25 look like members of a different species with no chance to ever understand you.
In truth, striking a friendship with a professor may be much easier than you expect – and useful, as well.
1. Letters of Recommendation
Maintaining friendly relationships with a professor may not bring you immediate results. However, later on, when you seek the admittance to a grad school you will need at least one letter of recommendation from somebody who knows your work and can confirm your qualifications – and a friendly professor interested in your career is just what you need.
2. Job Experience
Never fail to ask a professor you like if he or she needs some help with their research. In addition to taking part in work far beyond the usual scope of college studies and trying yourself at a lot of new things, it will allow you to mention all these projects as job experience in your resume when you start looking for a job.
Professors on friendly terms with you know your abilities, strengths and aspirations. Perhaps see their younger selves in you and are pleased by readiness with which you communicate with them. At the same time, they have been moving in their professional circles for a long time, know a lot of people and keep up with the latest trends. If they like you personally, they may advise you to take a particular internship, for example, the one they know will complement your abilities and help your growth – or they will recommend you to a friend who can help you, or do something else to assist you.
4. Greater Benefits from Studies
Students maintaining good relationships with their professors often say that discussions they have with them after classes have done even more for their education than studies proper. When you know the professor as a person, not as a teaching machine, you care more about his or her opinion about you, you are eager to learn more from him/her, and in the end – you get more out of the course as well.
Having a friend who is older and more experienced in the ways of the world than the majority of your acquaintances can be extremely helpful, especially when you are at the beginning of your career path – or haven’t yet decided what this path is going to be. A mentor capable of changing your life may be very close – and if you find time and courage to socialize with your professors, you may find him or her right now.
And, of course, in addition to all these rather pragmatic considerations we shouldn’t forget one more thing. Professors are quite often very interesting and fascinating people – and being friends with them is fun, as simple as that.