You're going to have a lot of professors in college. After all, you're taking more classes more frequently than you did in high school. Even if you have twice as many professors, in college it's ten times as important to form a good relationship with at least two or three. Let's take a look at how our relationships with a professor naturally progress over the course of the semester.
"Hi, my name is _______ and I'm really excited to be in your class!"
This may or may not be sincere, but you're likely going to say it anyways. Your intent is on impressing your professor because you know that they will play a major role in your future. You try to sit in the front of class every day, go to office hours and answer as many questions in class as possible.
You sign your emails with "sincerely," followed by your full name and middle initial.
"Just double-checking...all of that's due on Monday?"
It's finally started to hit: you are actually in a college class, which requires actual work. Your professor is just doing their job, but you still can't help but think that they could be making it just a little easier on you. You begin to fill with rage whenever a reminder of due dates or upcoming exams are sent out at midnight while you're working on things for more important classes.
You sign your emails with a passive-aggressive "thank you for your time," followed by your full name.
"I don't have the time or energy to deal with you, but I still have to go to your office hours."
You start to try and wiggle out of as much work as possible, but you still have to go to office hours. Reluctantly, you admit that your professor is actually not the worst and is actually quite helpful. Occasionally, you relate to your professor when they make jokes about the material, and sometimes you even stay a little after office hours because you're enjoying yourself.
You sign your emails with "best wishes," followed by your first name and last initial.
"Is there a limit on how many times I can visit you a week?"
Well, you've started to finally take advantage of the line of the syllabus that says office hours can be "by appointment," so you're planning your week to get as many sessions in with this professor as possible in a way that doesn't look desperate or annoying. You're also trying to think of the best time to ask them to write you a letter of recommendation, or if you should introduce them to your parents when they come to visit. You start getting defensive whenever someone complains about the class. You would get into a flame-war with the people who ranked them low on RateMyProfessor if it was physically possible.
You sign your emails with the school motto, followed by your first name.
"Will you adopt me?"
If you weren't friends on Facebook before, you are now. The fact that you won't have this professor next semester is starting to hit you. When given your end-of-semester course evaluation form, you rank them as highly as possible in every category. You start wondering if you should switch majors just so that you can take another class taught by the same professor.
You don't sign your emails because, in all honesty, they know your address by now.
Next semester, you get to do it all over again. Hopefully acknowledging this natural progression will help you expedite the process to step five, or skip over the uncomfortable steps. Who knows? Maybe you'll even find a step six in there somewhere.
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