Posts Tagged ‘professors’

Nothing is Certain Except for Taxes and Rude Professors: How to Survive Power-Hungry Teachers

Friday, April 5th, 2024

Most people come to college looking to diversify their skill set and dive head-first into their chosen fields. But unfortunately, not every professor has the same intentions when teaching their students. Some of them genuinely care about nurturing young minds to be the next generation of talent in their fields. Some of them are mostly there to further their careers but still try to put as much care as they can into the work they do. But unfortunately, many of them are there to fill whatever powerless void is troubling them in their personal lives and forget the fact that a student-professor relationship goes both ways. This results in teachers taking out unnecessary anger on students, and searching for whatever time and place they can exert their power over their students. 

My freshman year I had a professor who saw potential in my writing talent, but his recognition of my talent made him feel like he had the right to correct my wrongs in whichever way he saw fit. He never missed an opportunity to harshly critique my work in front of the class, suggest changes that completely misinterpreted my vision, and argue back and forth with me during class discussions. This constant ridicule made me feel anxious to go to class, as I was afraid of having my feelings hurt by this professor. The anxiety seeped into my self-confidence, and I started to blame myself for feeling this way. I began to feel that I wasn’t tough enough and that it was my fault for taking things too personally. 

This anxiety and lack of self-confidence began to affect my personal life. My friends started to notice as I became quieter and more nervous in my day-to-day interactions. One day, a friend of mine brought up my change in attitude, and I opened up to them about how I’d been feeling nervous in this class, and how it was making me second-guess myself and the work I produced. 

As I talked it out with them, I realized that it wasn’t me who was the problem; it was him. My friend pointed out that this professor saw both my talent and vulnerability, and used this sweet spot to exert power over me under the guise of helping me. Coming to this conclusion was so important, it helped me contextualize his actions and reframe the situation for myself. I wasn’t the weak and unconfident one, he was. There was nothing I could ever do that would please him, and ease my anxiety. His recognition of my talent to a lot of valuable feedback and advice on my work, but it also led to a lot of emotional turmoil and stress.

Through dealing with this experience, I learned a few tips about how to deal with professors who might not always have the best intentions. The first is to remember your worth. Chances are you’re gonna get critiques on your work, and sometimes they’ll be harsh. Either way, the work you do is still valuable and special. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Constantly reminding yourself of your worth ensures that you can’t let anyone take it away from you. 

My second tip is to use your voice. I know it’s scary standing up to authority figures, but don’t let yourself be silenced in fear. It’s worth it to set up a one-on-one meeting with your professor to voice your concerns, as maybe they’re unaware of their behavior and you could help them change your mind. My anxiety steered me away from talking to my professor in person, so at the end of my semester during course evaluations, I wrote a letter detailing my feelings toward this professor’s behavior. I knew the evaluations would be read by both the professor and the administrator above him, and that my words would actually be heard and considered this way. If you’re worried about talking to them directly like I was, try sending an email, or setting up a meeting with an office on campus that can help facilitate a productive conversation and safe conversation. On my campus, the Office of Student Success offers services like this, research to see if your school has something similar that could help you. Whatever it is you have to do, if you think you’d feel better by speaking up about it you should do everything in your power to do so. 

My third and last tip is–of course– to take care of yourself. Take a walk after class to clear your mind if you’re upset or anxious. Make it a habit to treat yourself with your favorite snack or candy after each class so you have something to look forward to at the end. If you can, take a mental health day from the class and do something to relieve your stress. At the end of the day what’s important is your mental and physical well-being. As a busy college student, you have to do everything in your power to make sure you’re feeling your best. At the end of the day, this experience taught me to never forget my worth and to not let any way affect my confidence. 

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By Sidnie Paisley Thomas

Sidnie is a Sophomore at Emerson College in Boston studying creative writing and post-colonial literature. In her free time, you can find her hitting up her local thrift store, playing her favorite records, or reading a new book.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015


Chapter 8: Why Seeking Adult Validation is Actually Beneficial: How to Befriend Your Professors

Monday, November 6th, 2023

In high school, classes were relatively small and you had the same teachers pretty much everyday, making it easy to form a bond with those teachers. You never really had to put that much effort into getting to know your teacher and as long as you did your work, they pretty much liked you.

For me, I was a very quiet kid and way too anxious to talk to all of my teachers. There were some teachers I managed to get close to who have helped me get to where I am today, but with others I just had a normal student-teacher relationship and nothing special. I knew that when I went to college it would be important to try and form a bond with at least some professors like I did in high school. However, college is much different than high school.

Thankfully, I chose a typically small school so my classes are never too big, but even still, it is different from high school. Instead of seeing these professors everyday, I would see them once, maybe twice, a week and the semesters are much shorter than a whole high school year, so you only have a few months to try and make an impression.

It was difficult for me at first, to try and open up to professors. I often seek adult validation and would always be too afraid to ask questions to my professors in fear that they would think I’m too dumb for their class. Now though, after a few years, I’ve discovered that asking questions when confused adds a new layer to your professor’s perception of you and they even feel grateful that you can admit to being confused. My sophomore year was one of the first times I took a class within my new major and I was beyond confused.

No one else seemed as confused and I honestly felt stupid. However, slowly I became more comfortable and at some points would just say out loud to my professor “I’m so confused and have no idea what this means”. Any time I do this, no professor laughs despite what my overthinking mind may think. Instead my professor and I worked together to understand my confusion and I worked hard to become a better writer and student.

Two years later he is one of my favorite professors and has helped me gain many opportunities. I have won an award for writing and I’m able to apply lessons and tips that once confused me to other classes to improve my writing and discussions in class.

The title and cover page of the paper I won an award for

It is so important to befriend at least one of your professors so you can always count on at least one adult to help you out in the future. And in order to do so, you don’t need to bring a fruit basket or something to their desk and essentially be a suck-up (no hate to suck-ups, I applaud those who can do it).The best way to form a connection is to be honest. Tell them how you feel about their lessons, ask questions, and participate. They will admire you and your attitude and will look forward to seeing you in other classes in the future.

The professors I have gotten close with have helped me find internships, be references for internships/jobs, and have written some letters of recommendations that I needed to get into grad school. They also help you become more confident in yourself and your work. At least that’s what happens to me when I seek adult validation.

After becoming known in the community within my major, I have been given opportunities like being an opening reader for my schools literary magazine! Here’s me reading one of my short stories


  • Forming relationships with high school teachers is different than professors in college
  • It may seem intimidating at first to speak with professors, but slowly you discover they are humans too and not scary
  • It is best to be honest with them and communicate how you feel rather than just act like you know what’s going on
  • Befriending professors will essentially help you in the future

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By Mia Ilie

Mia Ilie is a student at Pace University, graduating in May 2024 with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric and a focus on publishing. She grew up in Rockland, New York and is currently living in Westchester, New York where she attends school and works at a local bookstore. You can always find her with her nose in a book or screaming to Taylor Swift with her friends.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


Finding Your Mentors

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023

One piece of advice that I received from nearly everyone prior to starting college was to make connections with my professors as much as possible. Networking and establishing relationships with professional mentors are an especially important aspect of being a film student, but something that I was unsure of how to approach as a relatively introverted person.

The difficult part about college is that it is more valuable and important to make those professional connections than ever before. However, it is also way more difficult to get to know your college professors than, for example, your high school teachers. It is entirely dependent on you to take the initiative in reaching out to professors, whether through attending their office hours or sending them an email. It is a lot easier said than done.

For one, professors can be incredibly intimidating when you only know them in a classroom setting. In my case, while I’m not in the largest course at my college, the film professors are still lecturing in front of 70+ people every week. They don’t know your name, they don’t know your interests or your abilities, they don’t even know if you’re attending class every week or if you’ve never shown up. So how in the world are you supposed to make yourself known and stand out from the crowd?

My experience reaching out to a professor for the first time was more one of desperation than anything. In my second semester of my first year, my mental health was at an all-time low. I was questioning every class I was taking, how I was spending my time, and whether or not I was on the right path for where I wanted to be in the future. On a phone call with my dad, I was going through the usual complaints and frustrations I had been expressing the entire semester, when he suggested having a conversation with one of my professors.

Now, I was very skeptical of the idea at first. I had never emailed one of my professors about anything other than assignment details, let alone had a sit-down conversation with one. The conversation would also essentially entail me telling my professor straight to their face that I wasn’t enjoying the subject they basically have dedicated their entire life to…scary. But, with more than a little pressure from my parents, I emailed a few of my film professors asking if any of them would be willing to have a short conversation with me about my studies.

I arranged a meeting after class with one professor and was practically shaking the entire class with fear of what was to come. To make things worse, at the end of the class, the professor read my name out loud in front of everyone. It would be an understatement to say my confidence in the upcoming conversation was low. But it was too late to back out, so I shakily walked up to the front of the class while everyone else filtered out the back. 

My professor invited me to sit down, and I was surprised right off the bat by how friendly and understanding she was about my situation. I expressed how I wasn’t feeling challenged by how introductory all of my classes had been up to that point, and how there were so many other subjects I was interested in that I was afraid I had chosen the wrong one. 

She wasn’t upset or taken aback by my feelings, and she wasn’t even entirely surprised with how underwhelmed I felt by everything. She reminded me that first-year classes are inevitably going to be introductory, and that if I can stick through the beginning, there will be many opportunities further down the line to find offshoots in film studies that connect with my other interests. She told me about some future research opportunities I could get involved in, as well as recommending some additional readings to give me deeper insight into the kinds of things we were learning about in class.

Thanks to my professor’s advice, I started watching more material outside of class assignments to further explore my other interests!

Overall, I walked away from the conversation feeling a lot more confident in myself, in my path, and in my abilities to seek out resources to make my college experience right for me. I was proud of myself for making the effort to reach out and ask for help and was delightfully surprised by how willing my professor was to give me advice. 

I think it’s important to remember that professors were once students too. In fact, you could even consider professors to be life-long students, since they are constantly engaging with and learning from the information in their field. They know what it’s like to struggle with learning things, or to struggle with feeling like you’re not learning enough, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it.

While your early college interactions with professors can help you capitalize on your active college experience, the relationships you form early on can also help you with future things like research opportunities or recommendation letters. From my experience, I would recommend reaching out to professors for the first time when you feel like you could benefit from their support in their studies. That way, when the time comes that you are looking for a project to work on or a reference for an application, the relationship has already been formed naturally instead of purely on a transactional level.

One last point I’d like to stress is that mentors can be found everywhere. Professors aren’t the only option – there are counselors, clubs, administrators, and even visiting speakers that can help give you advice and support in your studies. I can guarantee you that, although it’s easy to feel alone, there are so many people out there who have felt and gone through the exact same things as you. Instead of being intimidated by their success and status, remember that they were in your position once too, and that is exactly why they are the perfect people to go to for advice.


  • I was intimidated by reaching out to professors at first
  • After a period of constantly questioning my pathway, my parents encouraged me to ask my professor for advice
  • I was nervous but surprised by how kind and helpful my professor was in our sit-down conversation
  • Establishing professional connections in a natural way can help you down the line in your career
  • Mentors can be found all throughout the college community

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By Bella Littler

Bella is a second year film student within the Trinity College Dublin / Columbia Dual BA program. She grew up in Iowa, but is currently living and studying in Dublin. On the average day, you can find her watching obscure movies, going on aimless walks around the city, or raving about any and all Taylor Swift lyrics.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


Winning Over Your Professors

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

In college, we all realize that there is no one way to eat, work, learn, or live. This principle extends beyond just student life: there is also no one way to teach. Just like everyone else, professors come in all different shapes and sizes–and for this reason, so do college courses. If you want to find good personal study habits, you have to first understand as much as you can about the person who decides what you have to study. Here are some tips to help you choose the right professors, and, when the time comes, impress them!

Choosing a Professor
Have high expectations for what you can accomplish in a class. If you can handle being challenged (and I’ll bet you can), choose professors with a reputation for expecting a lot of their students. It isn’t hard to figure out which professors these will be–lots of us already know about sites like that give us students the opportunity to anonymously praise our professors or similarly take our anger out on our keyboards in a show of a semester’s worth of pent up frustration. When you read these reviews or even when you hear about a professor from a friend, take everything with a grain of salt. You are different from everyone else: don’t lose sight of the kind of student you are or the kind of student you aspire to be when you consider others’ opinions. If you want better study habits, a great way to get them is to choose a professor who has a reputation for encouraging learning in a way that works for you–and that means not taking the easy way out.

Making the Impression
If you’ve already chosen the best professors for yourself, or at least tried to, then winning them over shouldn’t be hard! It will, however, take some planning and thoughtfulness. Like I said, all professors are different, but it generally takes a just little more than turning on the charm to show them you’re serious about their classes. I like to set small rules (small enough that I know I can keep them up all semester) that will help me show my professor my best self. For starters, if technology is allowed in class but not encouraged, I recommend you stay away from it. It will set you apart from everybody else in the class and, even if you don’t believe it, actually help you pay attention. And regardless when you actually start assignments (though you can read last week’s post for some tips on planning ahead), always read the handout explaining the assignment on the first day you get it. It only takes a few minutes and it spares you the dreaded possible fate of starting an assignment at the last minute and realizing you’re doomed by unclear instructions.

If you read all instructions as soon as possible, go out of your way to ask early questions! Nothing too obvious, but if you email your professor early on to ask advice about an idea for an assignment, they will notice your dedication and respect for their opinion. This also goes a long way to help you get your name recognized and get face time with your professor–don’t underestimate how important this can be. It’s the only way to avoid being just another face in a large class.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to impress and finally kick the stress. Whether you’re enrolling in next semester’s classes soon or you’re drowning in midterms for classes you wish you’d never chosen, keep this advice in mind to boost your grade and your morale.

By Madeleine Fleming

Madeleine Fleming is a Campus Clipper publishing intern and a rising sophomore at NYU.  A lover of reading, writing, and learning in every way possible, Madeleine is excited to be writing about college study habits for the Campus Clipper. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.


College Concerns and Worries

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

As young adults, we are prone to taking a “trial and error” approach to life. We know one of the many goals associated with college is the promise of a better life. We also know getting through college is a mission itself, filled with all types of twists and turns we never see coming. Here are a couple of concerns you may or may not have experienced, and some pretty good solutions to help keep your stress leveled.




Money will always be a major issue. Unless you hit the lottery or were born into royalty, you’re probably counting every penny you spend. Everything from getting to school to the afternoon snack craving can become a problem.

As college students we tend to want to blow our money on the first things we can think of. Saving is a minimal priority.’s creator Scott Gamm developed a theory stating fifty percent of college students have 4 or more credit cards. An even more shocking statistic is that eighty percent of students fail to pay off their credit card bill.

The key is to keep an eye on your money and always track what you are spending. I’ve written an article entitled “College Savings Doesn’t Mean College Boredom” in which I talk about having fun in New York the cheapest way possible.



Social Life

Balancing school and anything else can prove to be quite complicated. Whether it’s a job or an internship, you will find you don’t have much time for anything else. Twenty three percent of full-time undergrads, who are 24 or younger, work 20 hours or more a week. With hours like that plus the 15 hours or more you plan to spend in classes and on after class activities (labs and group projects anyone?), you won’t have much time for anything else.

Although having any kind of social life can seem like an extra burden, it’s not impossible and is more than healthy for a college student. Someone paying you a visit after you come home from work is one way that comes to mind (because you know . . . you’ll be too tired to go out and all). Someone can come meet you at your job after your shift. Meeting people at school is also a good way to kill two birds with one stone. Trust me . . . you’ll be spending A LOT of time with these people, so you might as well get to know them. You might like them.




We’ve all heard it before, “I have to take Professor (place name here). He’s an easy A” or “I don’t want Professor (alchy). He’s always drunk.”

Okay . . . maybe the last one is just me, but you get the idea.

There are those out there who simply don’t care who ends up teaching them a specific course, but for many of us, there’s that one professor that just gets us. Early registration is the key to getting the professors you want, the classes you want, at the times you want to take them. Some schools even give you cash stipends for early registration, which is even more of an incentive.

Personally, I never understood math until I had this one professor. She never let me (or anyone for that matter) leave class until she was sure we understood the material. This may seem like torture but I didn’t fail a test that whole semester . . . . . So I guess it worked, at least in my case


Personal Problems


We all have lives outside of college and many times it’s hard for our personal issues to not get in the way. Students with children have to constantly worry about their kid as it will always be one of their top priorities. Students can be involved in relationships that just swallow up their time (and if this is you, you should really learn how to prioritize) among other things.

I’ve been in three different living situations ever since I started school and I’m working on a fourth and hopefully my last for a while. Going to school and not knowing if I’ll even have a home to come back to has definitely been one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with in my life. All the “stay focused” and “keep your eyes on the prize” speeches never made any sense until I reached this period in my life.

Even though life can overwhelm you at times, it is important to know why you enrolled in this first place. It’s easy to forget why we started on this journey when all the unnecessary crap is constantly thrown in our face. Whatever the issue is, it’s important to know you have the strength, the tools and the support to get through whatever you’re going through. Also, you ARE working towards a better future and that’s more than most people can say.



Carlos L., Monroe College. Read my blog!!  Follow me on Twitterand Facebook :)

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Tips for Choosing Your Classes

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

With the freedom and independence that come along with the college experience, it’s easy to forget that we are here primarily to study and learn. Classes are an important part of college life and, thus, it is important to give a lot of thought into what you want to study each semester. That being said, here are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing your classes:

First, I would advise you to familiarize yourself with the requirements of your school’s core curriculum. The core curriculum is a set of mandatory courses that are specifically designed to provide students with a well-rounded education. Thus, universities and colleges mandate that their students take classes in a broad range of academic disciplines, such as mathematics, biological and physical sciences, the humanities, social sciences, and foreign languages. Depending on your school and your major, the core can take up to two years to complete – gasp! – so it’s best to know ahead of time what you have to take.

Second, use the core curriculum to your advantage! Most colleges and universities offer a number of different courses that can be taken to fulfill a requirement in the core curriculum. Thus, if you already know what you want to major in, look to see if there are any classes that can also count for your major. By doing so, you can: (1) Get a head start in completing your major, (2) Free up some time in your junior and senior years for fun classes or internships, or (3) Graduate a semester early. In addition, if you have not yet declared a major, the core curriculum is the perfect opportunity for you to experiment so that you can find out what fields of study interest you and which do not. You never know what you like until you try so do not be afraid to go out on a limb – that’s part of what college is all about!

Third, do a little background check on the professors who are supposed to be teaching the classes you are interested in. The website Rate My Professors is an excellent source for figuring out how a specific professor operates and what you can expect from taking his or her class. It is important to remember, however, that the reviews on this website are are the opinions of former students, and should be taken with a grain of salt. But, in my own personal experience, the ratings have been extremely accurate in depicting a given professor.

And finally, take the times of the classes into consideration. Although everyone has different preferences, I would advise you to schedule your classes when you are the most functional and active. In addition, I would recommend designating either a specific time frame in each day (i.e. 11:30-3:30, 8:30-11:30, etc.) or specific days of the week for your classes. I have found that it is a lot easier to do other things, such as sports, jobs, internships, and volunteer work, when your classes are arranged in a blocs of times or days.

-Christina Brower

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