Student Success Strategy #65: More Pet Peeves and How to Avoid Them

I’d like less for my money, please!

That’s what professors hear when you ask whether you’ll get out early from class.

That’s what professors hear when you are gathering up your papers and books and shoving them into your backpacks before the end of class.

That’s what professors hear when you start having conversations near the end of class rather than paying attention until the end.

Thank about it.  Where else would you want to get less than the most you can get for the same price?  Education is not like a bag of potato chips, where if you get the big size instead of single servings, some might get stale before you get to them (don’t try this in my house!).

You are paying for 50 minutes (or whatever length of time your class runs) of your professor’s prime time.  Not just off-the-cuff and casual meeting time, but prepared time in which to guide your intellectual growth.  Do you really want to cheat yourself out of a few minutes each class?

Think about the math:  Five minutes of wasted time in each class for a semester, figuring 30 class periods if you meet twice a week, is like giving up THREE full classes.  You are losing 10% of value in that class.

If you went to a fast food place and they said they’d only give you 90% of the food you bought, you wouldn’t be happy about that.  Or if you got a carton of eggs and in each carton, one or two eggs were broken and unusable, you wouldn’t be happy about that.

So why are students thrilled when they get out of class early, and why do they encourage the professor to end the class before it must end?

Student Success Strategy #65:  Get your money’s worth.  Show your professor that you want the full benefit of your educational opportunities.


Student Success Strategy #64: Avoiding Professors’ Pet Peeves

Professors are people too.  Yes, it’s a radical idea, but they do their grocery shopping, and their laundry, and take their car in for oil changes (thanks for always reminding me to do that while I was away at college, Dad!).

There are some things that are common to most professors.  Things that really bother them about what students do.  Here are a few of their pet peeves:

1.  Sleeping in class.  Professors know that there are times when you’ve been studying all night, are feeling ill, or there is a valid reason why you came to class when you couldn’t concentrate, and no matter how much you fought it, your eyes were closing and you fell asleep.

If it happens once, they will understand – kind of.

If it happens often, they will wonder why you bother coming to class.

You may have heard that simply coming to class is a big help to your successful completion of the class.  That’s obvious to most students.

But coming to class and sleeping through it, hoping to absorb some information simply by being there?  Not a good plan.

Do what you can to avoid this, while still showing up in class.  Because the second pet peeve of professors is not coming to class regularly, or at all!

Student Success Strategy #64:  Avoid Professors’ Pet Peeves:  Come to class, and stay awake.

Student Success Strategy #63: Never Ask This Question

“Professor, I missed last class.  Did we do anything important?”

This is probably the most irritating question a professor gets.  Did we do anything *important*?

My usual response is, “No, we did absolutely nothing of value in the last class.  Aren’t you glad you missed it?”

And then I turn away and do something else.

That should be the end of that conversation.

If, however, you ask whether I’d stay a few minutes after class to review the topics covered, assignments discussed, or how to be sure you have the correct information, I’m happy to oblige.

I’ll answer your questions, guide you to further resources, and do what I can to help you catch up to the class.  If you say that you’ve already received help or notes from another student, I’ll even go over those notes with you to fill in anything for which you need a more thorough understanding.

I’ll also remember you as a student who cares about learning the content of the class and one who is serious about education.   Need a letter of recommendation in the future?  I’ll think about you with words like “takes initiative,” “responsible,” and “intelligent” rather than “slacker” or “uncommitted.”

Student Success Strategy #63:  Never ask “Did I miss anything important?”  It’s a sure way to annoy your professor.

Student Success Strategy #62: Go Team!

I never attended a single football game while I was in college.

Big mistake.

I’m not thrilled with football, or even most sports in general, but I missed out on one of those experiences you just can’t get once you leave college.

Oh sure, as a working adult you can go to football games, but you won’t be part of the identity of the team, and you won’t have a built in cheering section including you as a vital part of them.   Even if you aren’t impressed by the commitment to the school that the athletes made and are making every day in practice, even if you think they should pay more attention to academics, and even if you think they are idolized way beyond their worth, being part of the student section at a football game is an experience you shouldn’t miss.

It’s like orientation, homecoming, or even graduation.  Think of it as a ceremony that you don’t really understand until you are part of it.  You can read about it, watch it on video, and talk to others about their experience, but you can’t feel the excitement or discover why it exists until you are in the middle.

Have you been to a concert where you became part of the mob of fans?  You could feel the excitement; you were simply part of that body of humanity.   Heartbeats were in unison.  It made the experience yours.

Or were you ever an actor in a play, feeling the group dynamic among the cast? There was an electricity between the players that radiated to the audience, including them in the fantasy of the story.

Think of football as that concert, that play, or that event that you feel rather than watch.  Become part of a tradition, even if you experience it just once.  Years later, you will understand the crazy actions of the student fans on tv, knowing exactly how they were feeling, being and becoming part of their college and growing the pride in their education as well as their fun.

Student Success Strategy #62:  Go Team!  Become part of a tradition.  Add to your pride as you grow and learn.


Student Success Strategy #61: If You Need It

You spent the long weekend at college rather than going home to see your high school friends, and you found a wild party just off campus.  They didn’t care that you were underage, and the beer just kept flowing into  your glass, and somehow disappearing out of it.

You thought about asking for a ride home, knowing that you couldn’t drive yourself, but you didn’t want to seem lame to your new friends.  They were cool, they were energetic, they knew their way around campus and possibly, just possibly, could make you a little cooler too.  A few parties like this, and you’d be part of the fun crowd .

Maybe you saw yourself hanging with them at the football game, even if they never mentioned football.  Or dancing and drinking at the hot spots in town.  Or going to the great concerts coming to campus later this fall.  You certainly didn’t want to seem like a lightweight, so you just slowed down your drinking.

A few hours later, you found yourself in the bedroom, clothes tangled, and one of the hosts was urging you to relax, telling you that you were hot, so beautiful, so exciting.  You might have not wanted to have sex, but with his urging and your tiredness from a long night and, of course, a few beers, it was just too hard to convince him that you meant no.  Or he wasn’t listening at all.  Or maybe it was too late to even tell him to stop.  You really didn’t want to stop anyway.  It felt good.  If you weren’t a virgin, what is the big deal?  How could he know all the thoughts in your head?

How do you feel today?  Are you okay with what happened, or do you have regrets?  Do you have anger?  Depression?

Legally, there are several choices to make.  We’ll discuss those at another time.

Take care of you first.  Do you need to see a doctor?  A counselor?  A victim advocate?  Any of these professionals can help you work through your feelings and help you determine whether you need to take any further actions.

Check with your Student Health Center, Counseling Center, or the Police (where many victim advocates work from, although they do NOT report to the police and do NOT give the police information without your consent except in the case of child or elder abuse).   You can do this at any time, even months afterward, if you need to talk about your experience without getting judged.

Student Success Strategy #61:  If you need it, get help.  Some situations may bother you now, others later.  Help is available.

Student Success Strategy #60: Long Weekends

It’s Labor Day, and classes are canceled.  What did you do for the long weekend?

Many students living on campus or in apartments nearby return to their parents’ homes for long weekend, including Labor Day.  Is this a good idea?


If you have made a few friends, feel comfortable with getting around campus, and would like to compare notes with your former high school friends who attend other colleges, this could be a good break for you.

If you feel unsure of yourself, don’t know where everything is on campus, and need to save a little money, staying on campus might open up new opportunities.  Just like visiting a college or beginning in the summer, there will be fewer students around.  It’s a great time to take a casual walk to scope out the location of all those places you haven’t yet been.  Where is the health center?  Where is the writing lab?  If the recreation center is open, you can check out the fitness machines without so many watching you.

You may also run into others who are a little lonely, and make friends you wouldn’t otherwise find in your classes or in your dorm.  Ask them questions about their classes, their dorms, their schedules.  Compare notes on your roommates, and laugh at some of the things you found out were really not true about college.

Don’t forget that this would be a great time to review your schedule for the next few weeks, including due dates, catch up on a little reading or do a little research for a project, and of course, take a nap or just chill for a while and enjoy the time without having to interrupt your day with a class or two!

Student Success Strategy #60:  Long weekends can be a good break, but they can also be a casual education on the things you don’t do on class days.