How to impress your professor on the 1st day

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Desiree Diaz/File

It’s no secret that leaving a positive impression on your professor from the first day has some real benefits as the cruelty of the semester eventually intensifies. Though easily forgotten, because of our expertise and authentic advice, we at the Clog are also students who have struggled with standing out from the hundreds of other faces our professor sees two to three times a week. But we’ve put aside our own difficulties and devised a foolproof plan to help you make and maintain an impression that will stay with your professor 15 weeks later.

Sit front and center

The front row of seats, to your astonishment, is not specifically reserved for those who are short-sighted. Especially on the first day, students love to fill up the seats starting from the back row, usually leaving the front few seats empty. This is an opportunity simply waiting to be seized. Make your mark by walking in the door and striding up assertively to the seat front and center of the classroom or lecture hall. Your professor (and classmates, for that matter) will notice your confidence straightaway and be both impressed and nervous, respectively. For an added effect, arrive before the class even begins and take this seat while there is still no one in the room. This will ensure that when your professor walks in, they will undoubtedly notice your choice in seating.

Since your seat on the first day of class basically becomes your unofficial assigned spot for the rest of the semester, it’s best to grab the finest seat in the house while it’s still open. The primary reason for this strategically-picked location is so your professor has a clear view of your diligent and unwavering effort to take copious, yet precise, hand-written notes for the entirety of the lecture hour (or hour and a half if you’ve been subjected to that brutality). Plus, they’ll never miss your hand whenever you have a question to ask or comment to make — of which you’ll obviously have plenty.

 Be Hermione Granger

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Hermione, it’s her ability to read, store and extract mostly vital, but occasionally arbitrary, information anytime, anywhere. And knowing the answer to every question your professor asks really pays off. We definitely encourage you to shoot your arm up when your professor even begins to utter a question. Whether you actually know the question or not, your enthusiasm will serve two essential purposes.

First, your professor will appreciate the effort you’re taking to engage in their class. They (hopefully) understand that students can’t possibly know the answers to a topic they themselves have dedicated their life to learning, so any attempts you make will certainly go noticed. Secondly, you’ll likely scare your classmates into insecurity with the amount of knowledge they assume you already have on the class material. That’s really the ultimate goal, and the first step to a favorable exam curve.

Pre-office hours are key

Now, we know that you’ve heard, “go to office hours” about a million times as a student at UC Berkeley, but we’re here to provide you with a new strategy to tackle such a nerve-wracking experience. On the first day, (after you’ve already diligently sat in the front row) your professor will likely hand out the class syllabus, which will dictate exactly when to plan your all-nighters in the coming weeks. Now, the trick here is to locate and circle (in red marker, if possible) the time, day and location of said office hours.

When that time finally arrives, much quicker than you originally anticipated, make sure you’re at their door five to ten minutes before the designated hours begin and be sure to knock loud and clear. They’ll open their door not expecting an eager student, such as yourself, to be standing there. Now that you’ve got their time and attention before any other student arrives, you can use up as much of the remaining hour as you’d like.

These three tactics are reliable ways to impress your professor on the first day of classes. Everyone loves a teacher’s pet and there’s really nothing better than beating those “insufferable know-it-alls” at their own game. So while these strategies will leave you pleasantly annoying, you’ll definitely have left an impression – good or bad.

Contact Jenisha Sabaratnam at [email protected].