Despite what you might see on TV, professors aren’t out to get you. In fact, they’re here to help you succeed and guide you through their class.

A black and white picture of the Art Building on campus.

And there are plenty of ways to get to know them and interact with them. Take note of their preferred method(s) of communicating. Most professors will give an indication either in their syllabus or during class as to whether they prefer a quick chat after class, an email, dropping in during office hours, and some even communicate via test message! Here are some easy ways to interact with your professor and get to know them better.

1) Attend class! Yes, that’s probably obvious, but it’s true! Show them that you’re willing to put in the work, and you’ll be rewarded.

2) Go to their office hours. All professors hold office hours for the very purpose of helping you and getting to know you. Office hours are especially helpful if you need a little one-on-one assistance. They’re also a good way to get to know your professor. Just check the syllabus for the hours if you aren’t sure exactly what days and times, they’re available.

3) Drop them an email and keep it professional. Maybe you can’t make it to their office hours. Professors are usually pretty accommodating, so there’s a good chance they’ll work with you to find a time that works for you both. Make sure to use proper grammar, be polite, and be clear in what it is you are asking.

We can’t stress communication enough! Believe it or not, professors aren’t mind readers, so they likely don’t know if you’re struggling. The earlier you raise your hand for help, the better!

Another key point: professors are regular people, just like you! Sure, they have vast knowledge and are super smart. But they like jokes, grocery shop, and watch Netflix just like you! Don’t be intimidated by them; take advantage of the fact that they know lots of things and learn from them.

So, to summarize, your professors are not scary! There’s no reason to be afraid of them. They want you to do well. So, communicate with them. Get to know them. And appreciate their extensive expertise. That’s a great recipe for success!