Take advantage of our best resource: professors


JONI COBARRUBIAS | The Daily Evergreen

College is a prime-time to soak in all the knowledge you can, so become the teacher’s pet, and maybe they will save your grade when nothing else can.

JENNIFER LADWIG, Evergreen mint editor

Perhaps I’m biased, but freshmen in my classes might be the most annoying thing. And I wouldn’t be surprised if many professors agreed with me. So this is a friendly reminder to all you new Cougs out there who are still in your high school habits. Or, any of you older Cougs who never learned how to be a respectful human being.

Your professors are your gods as college students. They have control of your grade, and they will only be as useful to you as you allow them to be.

Something I have noticed over the past three years as a college student is some professors are arguably better than others. But every instructor is there for a reason, and I can guarantee they know more than you, even if you think you’re the smartest of all smartasses.

So please, for the love of your education, get on your professor’s good side. Introduce yourself. Give them a name for that beautiful face. It is so important to develop a relationship with your instructors so you can get the help when you need it.

Jesse Spohnholz, associate professor of history and director of Roots of Contemporary Issues (AKA History 105), has dedicated much of his life to teaching college students. In 2012, he created the Roots of Contemporary Issues, a class intended for every freshmen to take as a UCORE credit.

“Coming out of high school,” Spohnholz said, “it’s hard to imagine that relationship [with your professor] as a human relationship. [Your professors] have a life, a family, a favorite food.”

Beyond acknowledging the fact that your professor is the same species as you, Spohnholz emphasized actually nurturing that relationship.

“Once your professor knows your name and you know something about each other,” he said, “you create a relationship — you’re more invested.”

By telling your professor some about yourself, you can let them know you are a WSU athlete, so certain days may be difficult for you to get a post on your discussion board. You can tell them you work at your friendly neighborhood student newspaper, so they can give you news tips. You can say, “Hey, I love psychology and I want to TA in the future, you should try and nab me for your class when that time comes.”

Professors have gone through all the steps. They have the experience and training to be at the front of the lecture hall. Give them the respect they deserve and let them teach you.

“Remember, this person used to be a freshman,” Spohnholz said.” They just have more experience.”

So, once you’ve made friends with your profs (for your own personal gain, of course), get your booty to class every day. I know, I know, bed is so comfy and that 8 a.m. Communication 101 class is a real pain. But this beautiful thing happens when you go to class: You start to pass the tests; you start to make connections to other units and maybe even other classes; you start to LEARN things *gasp*.

To recap: You’re BFFs with your professors and you’re showing up to class. Now what? Well, stop checking your phone. If you must do internet things, use a laptop, as they will think you’re taking notes and it will most likely be less distracting for them. And Spohnholz, a seasoned professor, has provided us with proof that instructors notice when you’re on the interwebs:

“I don’t think students recognize the professor sees them as much as they see their professor,” he said, adding that professors know when you’re texting, but they also see when you’re nodding and taking vigorous notes, showing you’re invested in continuing that relationship, even if only non-verbally.

But really, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, anything else I’m forgetting, they can all wait. See, by not checking your social media during class, you’re really helping yourself out by making it so you have more to look at between classes, instead of only having two new posts to view from the three minutes since the last time you checked. It’s called strategy, my young ones.

TLDR, your professor is awesome and you should really try to be respectful. And if they’re not so awesome, then you’re simply going through the freshman rite of passage, because we’ve all had our fair share of mediocre professors. It’s just a part of the college experience.