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Jul 29 2016
by Caitlyn Anderson

4 Reasons to Choose the Difficult Professor

By Caitlyn Anderson - Jul 29 2016
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We all know them. We’ve read their one-star reviews. We’ve heard horror stories about them and been warned against taking them more times than we can count. The fabled difficult professor is often viewed as the stuff of nightmares — a dream-crushing, avoid-at-all-costs plague on our collegiate experience. But this doesn’t have to be the case! Challenging educators offer unique benefits and experiences that we can’t glean from everyone’s favorite pushover professor. There are, in fact, reasons to seek out hard professors!

1. Motivation

High expectations push students to rise to the occasion. If you know you have a challenge lying ahead of you, it can serve as a crucial source of drive and focus. It’s pretty difficult to find the determination to work hard in a class if you know you’re guaranteed an easy A. That’s where the challenging professor comes in to kick you into high gear! While you may not get a perfect grade, the process of diligently striving for that grade will do wonders for your work ethic.

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2. Preparation

A hard professor will ensure that you are adequately prepared for future coursework and jobs. Higher level classes often rely on content learned in prerequisite courses, so slacking off in those lower level classes won’t do you any favors. Instead, taking on the challenging professor ensures that you’ll know all of the information so well that higher division courses will seem easy! The same goes for work experience — the more rigorous your preparation, the more successful you’ll be. Not to mention learning how to handle a strict superior will be helpful if you ever have a difficult boss in the future!

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3. Networking

Professors are great pathways to opportunities like research or internships. Chances are students are more likely to network with the easy professor because they may seem more approachable or friendly. That leaves plenty of options open for you with the difficult professor! Establishing a strong relationship with a less popular professor ensures more individualized attention and opportunities, as well as more personal recommendation letters.

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4. Sense of Accomplishment

While flying through an easy class may be a stress-free breeze, it doesn’t really give you any sense of pride or accomplishment. Because you didn’t have to work very hard, you won’t feel as though you’ve really achieved something. If you choose to take the difficult professor, you’ll be rewarded with a sense of victory for having chosen the challenging path and succeeding. This sense of self-satisfaction is fulfilling and motivating, potentially providing you with a boost in confidence and a drive to push yourself further.

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While many of us live in fear of the hard professor, embracing the challenges they offer can prove to be an incredibly advantageous experience. When the next class selection period rolls around, don’t be afraid to go against the grain and choose the more difficult professors. You’ll be glad you did! 

Lead Image Credit: jdog90 via Flickr Creative Commons

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Caitlyn Anderson - University of California, Los Angeles

Caitlyn attends UCLA with a major in chemical engineering. Her interests include writing, traveling, and the environment.

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