College is quite the game changer. In high school, you probably didn’t have the luxury of being able to choose between multiple professors for the same class. And if you did, well then pat yourself on the back. You’re leaps and bounds ahead of the game on this one!
For those of you new college students that aren’t familiar with choosing your professor, I’d highly recommend you get really familiar. Really fast. As you take courses, you’ll quickly hear about how some teachers are just easier than others. You might think to yourself, “this can’t be true…professors are the same for the most part”.
To that I’d respond, “Good guess, but try again Johnny”. You’re dead wrong.
Some catch on quickly and plan their professors more efficiently during their second semester of Freshman year and Sophomore year but it wasn’t until my Junior year that I truly realized the difference that a professor can make on your GPA and your overall classroom experience. Unfortunately, despite knowing how much a professor can make a difference, it wasn’t until my Senior year that I actually implemented the practice of taking the time to research professors.
I’ll be real. Some professors are more beneficial than others. Now, I’m not saying that some professors are simply better or smarter than others (although this can certainly be the case). I am saying that depending on your learning style or comprehension speed or even class schedule demands, some professors are just better than others. And then there are factors such as the experience of professors, their age, how much time they have, how much they care, their ability to teach in general, etc. The list could go on for days. If you talk to any older students, you’ll most likely be steered in the right direction.
Back in my second semester of Freshman year, I was in the process of taking the required courses so I could declare myself as an Industrial Engineer or Architectural Engineering major. Of course, I needed to take the basics—good ol’ Chem 101. Initially, I didn’t think this would be a problem since I enjoyed Chemistry in High School and my other Freshman year courses from the previous semester ended up great. To put it bluntly, I had a bit of academic hubris.
Little did I know, I was walking into the boiling cauldron that lay tucked away in academic hell. While Chemistry can have difficult concepts to grasp collectively, this teacher seemed especially difficult. There was just something about his explanations and lectures that were off.
I studied often for the class, completing assigned homework and attempting to do even more to understand the material. I’ll admit that in hindsight, the techniques that I used weren’t great and could’ve certainly been better. I ended up barely managing to pass with a D. And this mostly was because the professor liked me. This came as a huge blow to my GPA and ego. And to top it off, I needed a C at the very least to make the class count towards my intended major. Well, shit. A whole class wasted and nothing to show for it but a wounded GPA. Meanwhile, other friends of mine that took the other professor that taught Chem 101 all skated by with A’s.
Now you might be thinking, well maybe you didn’t study hard enough or ask enough questions.
And to some degree, I’d totally agree. My Freshman self yet to truly understand the tricks or techniques yet to make college easier. He was ignorant of his opportunities. If only he had some kind of resource to help him conquer that class…
But the class as a whole didn’t do great. If I recall correctly, many students failed, the majority was in the C and D range and the remaining had B’s. And, of course, there were that handful of students (about 3) that received an A (but those guys knew about advanced Chem going into the class so they don’t really count).
Having recalled that story, the take-home message is: do research on your professor!
Check out their stats with a website like ratemyprofessor.com and schedule wisely! Don’t make the same mistake I did and jeopardize your GPA.
Do you guys have any experiences with any bad professors or teachers? Let me know in the comment section! Looking forward to hearing from you!