Courtesy of Universal Studios
If you’re like me, you already dread showing up to class and being subjected to the downward-turned nose and jaded stare of your professor, never mind the radical thought of ever approaching them with questions, clarification, or – more distastefully – genuine interest. These creatures are hard to understand, never mind like. However, it has been said that forming some kind of mutual tolerance with one can drastically increase your chances of doing better in class.
As crazy as it sounds, there are ways to connect with one, or many; it will just take away a piece of your most valuable, precious asset – your squandered free time. Do what I say, and you too will become a master of masters, a tamer of teachers, and a leader among lecturers.
Memorize their migration patterns. Professors are constantly moving, from classrooms to buildings to offices; They can be spotted in clusters of two or more, scuttling to or from sources of caffeination they so heavily rely on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one sit down, if only the occasional glimpse of one huddled in its office.
By understanding where they are at certain times of the day or week, you will know when to approach them, or when to avoid an area to save yourself the embarrassment of making eye contact with one in the dining hall when you had, only hours before, emailed them about how badly you had hurt your ankle in soccer practice (you don’t play soccer) and how you’d be at the hospital all day.
Because now you must fake a limp, join the soccer team and throw yourself down a flight of stairs.
Show “genuine” interest. Obviously, you aren’t genuinely interested in anything a professor tells you, unless they mention something free, a planned class cancellation or that they’ve decided to make the final take-home. However, the more eye contact you make with one, the more you contribute to the conversation, and the closer you sit to the front of the room, the more the professor will become fond of you. Stare at them unwaveringly and with little blinking as possible for best results.
When contributing to the conversation, make sure it pertains to the topic at hand; for example, if the professor says, “At the end of the story, the narrator is revealed to be so obsessed with the wallpaper she goes insane,” you can raise your hand and respond, “I too am similarly obsessed with my white cinderblock walls, but I wonder if she grew her nails out long enough to scratch the paint off thoroughly?” which will undoubtedly be met with an impressed and intrigued silence.
And when strategizing your placement in the classroom, be sure to sit as close as possible to the professor where they typically stand to lecture. Creep in the night before to rearrange the desks so the front row inches closer to the standing space, until you have to tilt your head up slightly to make that unwavering eye-contact with your professor.
Stalk their Facebook profile. Yes, a professor oftentimes will have profiles set up on various social media, but not to worry; it’s a farce to hide the fact they are not in fact real humans, but lizard people (but you already knew that.) Stalking the profile as you would your best friend’s exe’s sister will give you a better insight into what they claim to do outside of class, and help you connect with them on a more personal level.
To let your professor know that you show interest in their whereabouts outside of the classroom, be sure to ask how their family vacation was, what their dog’s name is, and who that person in their profile picture from 2002 was and where they went (don’t worry, they don’t need to know you researched that person, that would seem sketchy.)
Gently kiss their ass. No, not literally. Professors allegedly enjoy feeling appreciated, inspiring, valued, and so on. Do your best to assure them that you value the two and a half hours a week you are obligated to spend with them, not because you are paying to attend, but because you want to show up.
“Gently” is the key word; professors are highly distrustful of too much ass kissing. Pat them on the shoulder, tell them you enjoyed the textbook reading (even if you didn’t buy the textbook,) and that you recommended it to your 32 followers on your YouTube channel.
While there is no real guarantee your professor will like you, actively striving for it will result in more success than not doing anything. As difficult as it is to be in college, understanding the nature of the beasts that bestow knowledge on us will give you a leg-up on academics, which is much easier than actually studying. So – pucker up and go kiss some tenured ass.