8 tips for staying connected with professors and peers
After a year of studying remotely, we are going back to campus this fall term and if there is one thing we have learned, it's flexibility. This year, you might have courses that are fully in-person, some that are a blend of in-person and online, while others may continue to be offered remotely. So, now more than ever, it is important to learn how to network and connect with your professors and peers.
Here are 8 tips to get you started:
Networking with your professors
Professors can guide you on how to reach your career goals in the field of interest. Networking with your professors could help you find out about opportunities as a teaching assistant, a research assistant and other jobs or internships. There may also come a time where you need a reference letter for graduate school or job applications. If you have a good relationship with your professor, this may lead to getting a more personalized letter, putting you at an advantage and making you a strong candidate.
Generally, you can always reach out to your professors during their office hours to ask some questions about the course content or to share your interest in their research. The office hours are written on the course outline and can be either in-person or through a video call.
Here are some tips to help you make a memorable impression:
- Always address your professors by their appropriate title and name. If you're unsure what to call them, simply ask. You never want to start off on the wrong foot.
- Before asking general questions from your professors, read the course outline in detail. Chances are the answers are included there. Asking any general questions about the course will not necessarily help you stand out.
- Always attend the lectures, sit in a location where they can see you if your courses are in-person or keep your camera on during the Zoom session. Show interest by engaging in class discussions and if your course is held online, you can use the chat option to answer some of the questions if you don’t feel comfortable speaking up.
- If you are interested in your professor’s research, saying so or writing an email are great options but might not be enough. You need to show it! Try to get a meeting with the professor first by writing an email. Before your appointment, read some of their research papers. You can learn more about the professor’s research interest by consulting Explore Concordia. As you are writing your email, think how and why you are interested? Do you have any questions about how the research was conducted? Share them!
- When sending an email, be polite, formal and don’t forget to thank them for replying. Many students forget this final step and, if you express your appreciation, it will make you stand out.
Connecting with your peers
You can meet new people and find friends in a variety of ways at Concordia. Your friends will brighten up your mood, and help you feel connected and heard. Generally, you can meet new people by checking out the various volunteering opportunities at LIVE Centre. You will be giving back to the community, building your CV, and finding like-minded people who have mutual interest about the causes you care about.
Another way to meet new people is to use your hobbies. Your hobbies are your escape from the daily routine and pressures of your studies. I highly recommend keeping a balance of work and fun in your student life. If you already have a few hobbies or interests — anything from building a robot to canoeing and hiking — it’s a great idea to check whether a Concordia club or student group is linked to that specific interest. Start by browsing the list of student groups at Concordia and follow them on social media. Make sure to also join the New Concordians 2021-2022 Facebook group if you are a new student at Concordia to connect with your peers.
Here are some tips on how to make connections with your peers and break the ice:
- If your class is in person take the initiative and introduce yourself to some of your classmates. You can ask them about what they are studying, how they feel about the classes and so on. If your class is online, create a discord server or a group chat and share the link via the chat section of Zoom meeting on the first day of class. Ask those who are interested to join and connect through social media. I guarantee that everyone wants to connect but they are shy to take the first step. Be the brave one!
- Create an in-person or a virtual study session. Connect with some of your classmates and ask if they are interested to get together and study. If your class is online and you haven’t met anyone from your classes yet, try messaging your classmates through Moodle, where you can find each of the participant lists. Or, if your classes have Zoom lectures, sending a private message to a classmate could be a good idea.
- Be flexible and open! Your classmates can come from different backgrounds with different tastes. Not all of them might feel comfortable with in-person gatherings. Some might prefer to meet with you online only. Some might not even have access to Facebook, Google drive etc. Always try to be as open and flexible as possible and support them.
Last but certainly not the least, check out the following article for more tips and suggestions on making a friends at Concordia. And If you’re ever in doubt, always ask!