Catching up on my blog-reading this morning. I came across this brilliant bit excerpted from Fretful Porpentine’s undergraduate diaries.

And then there is a page of cynical, but probably accurate, advice for dealing with professors. I’m fairly sure that I figured out most of these the hard way.

Rules for Students

1 ) Don’t ever forget how powerless you truly are. If you may speak freely to a professor, it’s by his will, not your own. Know then to bite your tongue, when to not & smile.

2 ) On the other hand, you have an advantage because you know your prof far better than he will ever know you. Also, you’re trained to listen and he’s trained to talk. Keep your ears open & learn to judge character!

3 ) Rapport is a gift from heaven. Don’t question it, analyze it, or push it too far. Do enjoy it.

4 ) Expect to do all the listening & almost all the remembering.

5 ) Gossip only with fellow students.

6 ) If your prof is in the habit of bad-mouthing her colleagues, do not trust her.

7 ) Demand no favors.

8 ) An acid tongue is OK, but don’t forget to smile!

9 ) Be honest — but know when to keep silent.

10 ) Remember they’re human (as if I could ever forget).

11 ) Even if your prof is a priest or a deacon, don’t ask him to deliver your wedding sermon. You will get a bad sermon.

I can categorically state that I was not so perceptive as an undergrad. Probably “presumptive” would be a better word to describe my self of fifteen years ago. Also “stupid,” “brash,” “suffering from foot-in-mouth disease.”

And now that I think of it, how little things have changed.

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