Monday, February 11, 2013

Becoming Friends With Professors is a Key to Opportunity

I tell my younger sister that the most important thing you should do in college is to become friends with your professors. It is no secret that professors at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business are incredible at research and at teaching. But they are also incredibly friendly and helpful. 
Jeff Parker
Business Senator

Professors can be the most invaluable resource to students. If you know a professor personally, they will introduce and suggest opportunities to you. These could be scholarships, programs, internships, jobs, or research opportunities that are incredibly vital to your education. 

One way to make friends with a professor is to make sure that your professors know you by name. How do you do this? Give intelligent comments in class, ask questions after class, or visit them in during office hours. Having a professor as a friend will make your education phenomenal. 

However, this is a two-way street. I would also recommend that professors make an effort in learning student’s names. Use your vast knowledge and networks to introduce them to education enhancing experiences. You could influence a student's mind for the better. 

As I was thinking back on my time at the Huntsman School of Business,  this is one of the reasons that I started to take advantage of my education. As a sophomore, I was floating through classes, sitting in the back. For some reason, I must have thought of a good question or given a comment because Professor Diana Thomas called after class. After talking for moment, she recommended that I applied for Koch Scholars. From that point on, she knew my name, and I was toast. Every time I would zone out or nod off in class she would call on me. I would startle back to reality and maybe stumble through an answer. It was pretty annoying at the moment but I am really grateful now. 

Although I was never accepted to the Koch Scholars, that initial two-minute conversation was my catalyst for engaging in my education. I switched my major to economics. I applied for study abroad, which I discussed with Professor Thomas during her office hours. I was researching scholarships for the trip when I learned about the Huntsman Scholar program. I applied and connections there lead me to an internship. Friends I made in the program encouraged me to run for Business Senator. Everything has snowballed from that one moment when Diana gave me some friendly advice. I have talked to many students with similar stories. Professors are the channel through which students learn about these vital opportunities. 

I invite professors to recommend to students all of the fantastic opportunities here at the Business School, and I highly recommend to all students the same advice I give me sister: make sure the professors know you by name. 

— Jeff Parker
     Business Senator
    Jon M. Huntsman School of Business