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The Nutty Professors: what hopes will your college mentors possibly rely on you?

Have you ever watched one of those old-school Chinese kung-fu movies? You know, in which the hero has to train hard to avenge his father’s disgrace, death or something of that sort? And throughout the film, he receives harsh but loving instructions from his old, wise and Yoda-like looking master, before encountering the villain-character in the final battle.

In college, you will have to deal with something similar, to be honest. Sure, at first sight, it might seem that all these high-browed intellectuals are indifferent towards your humble persona and all they care about is their own paychecks, scientific research and ambitions towards winning a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize etc.animosity

Such a gloomy picture may be the cause of a panic attack, but you should relax instead. All these old-fashioned stereotypes are actually far from the truth. So let’s analyze how professors think and see what to expect from their expectations of you.

Grades vs Knowledge Crusades

You might be surprised but what most professors really have strong animosity for is the students’ lust for getting a diploma. Yes, it sounds paradoxical, I know. But you see: 90% of the college students exclusively care about fancy, colorful piece of paper desirably decorated with some obscure abracadabra like “magna cum laude”. Implying it is going to land them lucrative employment later in life (wink-wink).  

In harsh and merciless reality nobody actually cares that much about your pretty little document. What your potential employers and society in general want from you are certain mental qualities and practical skills.

Do you know why some of America’s top-billing companies – like General Electric or Verizon Communications – are so fond of hiring young specialists with a military background? It’s not because they know how to fire those awesome huge bazookas or possess a unique talent to loudly yell “Sir, yes, sir!” of course no. They are favoured because they have valuable skills, such as:

  • The capability of executing orders precisely as they were told,
  • Familiarity with subordination and discipline,
  • Strong sense of personal responsibility,
  • Careful attention towards every little detail, especially regarding personal/collective safety.

And your college gurus are eager to cultivate basically the same traits of character in you. Additionally, they want to see passion and zealous in your eyes about the study subject you’ve chosen. They want you to be a bold explorer who reaches new horizons. A conqueror who one day may overthrow old paradigms and create a new and better world. Yes, this can be you.

This is the expectation #1

Think critically

Contrary to a popular misconception among the naive freshmen, the college is not an expensive daycare. It’s your first step into the grown-up life, a rehearsal of a self-reliant existence in which no one but you will cover your back.

Your mentors want you to be fully prepared for any surprises in your professional expertise be it neuro-surgery, international law or Klingon some really complicated foreign language.

You must understand how things and ideas fit together. You must learn to think independently and find your own, out-of-box solutions. To rephrase the Apple’s slogan – you must think critically.

In a college, it is anticipated that you have mastered your ABC’s in high school: essay-writing, correct spelling, math or natural science basics, paperwork nuances. And now, in your Alma Mater what you really need to do is to grasp the essence of what you’re studying. Absorb and process it in the core of your brains.

And such a challenge cannot be vanquished simply by memorizing stuff. I mean a greatly developed memory is a marvellous thing – it’s the fundament of a superior intelligence for sure! But it’s not enough to have a fully formed vision of the subject you’re struggling to master.

I guess there’s nothing more disappointing than teaching a bunch of kids who are good at blatant cramming but have no insight of their own. Be different from them.

This is the expectation #2

Be friends with your mentors

The funky super-band War from California once recorded an amazing song “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” dedicated to peace and equality among people (check it).

So there’s no reason why you and your university professors cannot be good friends. In fact student-professor relationship may prove to be mutually beneficial.

There is a popular but an erroneous belief that college instructors are snobbish, arrogant, nagging and peevish monsters, who hate everything young people like and, just like cavemen, do not understand the primary function of a smartphone.

I have no idea how and why such a stereotype materialized, but luckily it’s completely false. Most of the today’s college professors lead active and sometimes adventurous lifestyle, just like Indiana Jones.

They aren’t strangers to the most up-to-date technologies and quite often know a thing or two about contemporary youth culture – even those memes you treasure so much.

Now, we all know that every brainery throughout the entire country has some requirements that students are obliged to meet, some of them are:

  • Attending every class,
  • Turning the papers in strictly on deadline,
  • Provide work of the highest quality possible.

And so on, and so forth.

Without a doubt, all these demands are legitimate and aimed at increasing students’ overall performance. But we all are merely humans – anything can happen. You may catch a cold, get bitten by a crazed raccoon or be in a dizzy whirl of preparations for your grandmother’s birthday.

In other words, emergencies will always occur every now and then. And then, oh miracle, the professors are pretty understanding. They were students too before they magically turned into teachers.

Whenever you’re dealing with some accidental and totally unexpected circumstances, in most cases you may count on compassion and assistance. Just do not overuse it.

Another bonus you may obtain from being friends with your brainery's instructors is the access to their unique life experience, broad knowledge in the field of your expertise and also their professional connections.

They may supply you with ideas, help you correct your curriculum or conduct research, provide positive recommendations and give you a stepping stone for your future career.

Remember that they are your allies on this arduous quest of gaining sweet-sweet knowledge. 

This is the expectation #3

Epilogue

As you can see, pretty high hopes will be relied upon you in college. But once you follow the above-given recommendations you’ll turn your Alma Mater experience into an adventure that will reward you in the end with some real and concrete knowledge and skills that are not easy to find on today’s market.

Never hesitate to ask questions, seek help and suggest your ideas – that’s what the colleges were invented for in the first place. And believe me, your mentors will be rejoiced and delighted by your enthusiasm. “Professor and student” is a classic duo.

After all, every Holmes needs his Watson, every Jedi needs his Padawan, and every Perfumer needs his Apprentice.

 

And as usual, top of the luck to you!

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