The Friday Five: Professors You Meet in College

When it comes to your college career, the professors whose classes you take will play a significant role in your path through higher level education. Not only might some encourage you to choose a particular major or give you insight into your post-college life, but others might turn you away from your original major.

In this installment of The Five People You Meet In College (see couples, friends, roommates, boys and girls), we will discuss some of the professors you are likely to encounter throughout your university years. Feel free to talk about your own experiences in the comments section below!

The Friday Five: Professors You Meet in College

1. The Free Spirit.
This professor is liberally minded and not afraid to express his or her (usually her) opinions. He or she will often wear an eclectic mix of colors and patterns, and talk about his or her discipline from either a feminist or multicultural point of view. This person usually teaches interesting classes for those who aren’t offended easily and enjoy learning, as he or she tends to insert his or her anti-authority (and occasionally a little outrageous) opinions into the lesson plans. Overall, The Free Spirit will gain a lot of repeat-students through engaging course material, but always has a few nay-sayers in the back of the room.

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2. The Conservative.
Often clad in more traditional attire, this professor is The Free Spirit’s foil. The Conservative tends to lecture about the left-wing bias he or she perceives in the educational system, and declares his or her teachings to be on the more moderate side as opposed to the conservative side. In fact, The Conservative rants about the decay of the education system and liberal media just as much as he or she actually lectures about the class topic.

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3. The Professor Who Takes Everything Too Seriously.
You took this professor for a freshman introductory class, but somehow you have already managed to turn in four papers and take three exams by mid-semester. Every night, you read the day’s assigned 80 pages, but somehow you feel like you’ve fallen incredibly far behind. Although you took the class for an easy A, you somehow ended up with the one professor who actually grades you for attendance and considers an A- to be a 95. This professor teaches in a very inaccessible way, using jargon you’ve never heard of and putting students on the spot whenever possible. To avoid professors like this one, check out RateMyProfessors and read as much as you can before you register for your classes.

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4. The Professor You Just Can’t Understand.
Although you attend class every day and listen attentively to every lecture, you manage to get lost within five minutes of the lecture. Tutoring sessions with teaching assistants and academic resource centers are helpful, but as soon as you return to the classroom and your professor opens his/her mouth, you’re lost all over again. Many students blame their lack of comprehension on a language barrier or thick accent, but in my personal experience, I have had the most difficult understanding a professor who, like me, was from the Midwest, and who, also like me, had a major rambling problem.

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5. The Helping Hand.
This is the professor you should be looking for — the one who wants to make a difference. This person, usually either a working professional/expert or a seasoned veteran of the field, will have the best career advice for you and will be the most available during office hours to speak with students. The Helping Hand genuinely cares about his or her students’ success, and will take the extra effort to help students with assignments, resumes, job searches, etc. His or her advice is practical and no-nonsense.

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(Editor’s Note: Of course, most people don’t fit into such narrow descriptions, and this blog is not meant to offend anyone!)

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8 comments

  1. There are also professors that have JUST become professors and are still really like you. They teach in ways that speak to your generation and allow everyone to be not only engaged but actually learning in the process. They have a knack for making the subject interesting and putting things into “english” for us novices. The downside is that sometimes these teachers can be slightly disorganized and scatterbrained, causing your tests to somehow get lost in the sea of other papers they happen to have ‘occupying’ their desk at the moment.

    1. I love the young professors :) They are usually really enthusiastic about the subject and they want students to be engaged in the material. I wish I had more of them!

  2. I’ve had a lot of #5s in my college experience, so far. My history teacher was the most awesome teacher I’ve ever had. He was so enthusiastic, and although he packed a ton of information into each class, he always had funny stories or examples that made stuff easy to remember. I almost wish I had to take more history classes :)

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