I’ve never been one to strike up a conversation with a stranger– at least not very easily. It’s not that I’m shy, I just don’t really like talking all that much. I feel awkward and uncomfortable, and this goes double for me and professors.
Last quarter, I took a history seminar that was required for my major. As a transfer, I was told that if you want to do research, it’s especially important to find a professor who can advise you on your thesis as soon as possible or yesterday, whichever comes first. Since I want to be a professor myself, I thought it couldn’t be that hard. If/When I’m a professor I hope that students would also want to be a professor. I think that I’m one of those people who would want to help and guide them and possibly even mold the type of teacher they’ll become (how fun!). On the other hand, I could be one of those people who is really hard on their students, especially the ones who have aspirations of being a professor. Needless to say, my seminar professor last quarter was one of the latter.
It wasn’t that he was mean, but he wasn’t very approachable. Plus he is a medieval historian, which isn’t my cup of tea (BORING!). Long story short, I got a B- in that class. Yes, I am bitter about it. Not to be discouraged, I sought out a professor teaching another seminar in a subject that I am hoping to do research on (since I needed the adviser starting in the Spring, and I didn’t utilize my first quarter very well). Into my life walks Prof. G and the Russian Revolution.
I’ve been trying to impress Prof. G since starting the quarter, talking as much as I can about the readings (even keeping up with them!). But, like I said before, I’m not one to go out of my way to go to office hours, at least not unless I absolutely HAVE to. In this case, I did.
By next Tuesday, we’re supposed to have our topics picked out for the research project that will be due at the end of the quarter for Prof. G’s class. I went to talk to him yesterday, and slyly brought up the fact that I’m looking for someone to advise me on my honors thesis and wondered if he had any suggested reading (hint… hint…). To my surprise, he asked me to tell him more, and even offered to by my adviser! No questions asked!
My wife always tells me to go to office hours and ask questions, even if I already know the answer. I might just start taking her advice from now on… As I found out yesterday more talking = more doing.
-Mrs. That One