Professors Are Not Scary

Hello, readers! Hayley here. In case you have not heard yet, just recently Dordt was ranked #1 in student engagement by the Wall Street Journal again, for the second year in a row! I have a few words to say about that-this time, dealing with professors.

 Here's a pic of roomie and I taken before a history class we had together last year!

Here's a pic of roomie and I taken before a history class we had together last year!

Let's format a little story here. Once there was a girl who loved school and enjoyed learning and was a decent student growing up. Throughout grade school and high school, she was not afraid of asking questions to her teachers or classmates to help her gain better understanding of whatever concepts were being taught. Then this girl moved to college. (Dordt College, of course!) Being in classes with people she did not know and professors she had previously never met, she got scared to ask questions. In the middle of her first semester, this girl got a grade on a history paper she was really not content with. History had never come easy for her, but she was too afraid to ask questions or inquire more information, so she was not doing as well as in that class she would have liked.  Looking at her syllabus for the remainder of the semester, she was wary of one more major paper coming up that she wanted to do particularly well on, to compensate for the one on which she did not. This student talked with her teammates about her fear of her upcoming paper, and one teammate in particular highly, highly encouraged her to set up an appointment with her professor to help her get a clear understanding of how to improve her writing on her next paper. This girl dreaded the idea more than anything and really did not want to take her teammates' advice. After prompting from her teammate on multiple occasions, she did set up an appointment with her professor. She was so incredibly nervous to go to his office and admit she needed assistance, but thanks to her teammate's encouragement, she did it.

Let me spoil this story for you-this student was me. (Bet you didn't see that one coming!) Terrified as I was, I went to meet my professor who was 100%, completely, more than willing to meet with me. In fact, I vividly remember him saying in our meeting (paraphrasing here,) "This is exactly what students are supposed to do. I want students to come meet with me so I can help them format more solid outlines and thesis's for their final papers." Talk about relief!!! Leaving that meeting, not only did I feel like I was able to overcome a fear (which was a completely unnecessary one, but one nevertheless,) I also gained so much respect and appreciation for my professor, AND I felt so much less overwhelmed and better prepared in the writing of my final paper.

So, engaging. When professors list their open office hours on their syllabi, they actually want us to meet with them! Contrary to what we might think, they care deeply about our grades and are wholly invested into our learning. They want us to succeed! And that is engaging. :)

-Hayley