In the two articles presented for reading this week, one common theme stood out to me. The U.S. News article raises this point the best: almost every facet of the college experience, including grades, class size, type, location, size, and much more, nothing contributes to the future success of the student as much as “emotional connections” with professors. In fact, the article found that almost every other factor has a negligible impact on graduates’ engagement with their career. These emotional connections with professors are apparently one of the most important parts of the college experience, but getting these connections in a large school or a large class can be hard. Perhaps what is most intriguing to me is the ease with which these connections can be made, even in larger classes.

Moving forward in my time at Virginia Tech, I hope to use the resources presented in both articles to make better connections with my professors. Right now, I’m never one to stay after class. As the HerCampus article suggests, this is one of the easiest ways to connect with professors. I have the time to stay after class in all but one of my classes, so perhaps starting to do this semi-regularly will help me build a rapport with my professors. Another thing the article suggests is meeting with your professor outside of the classroom. Luckily, Virginia Tech has the “dine with faculty” program the article speaks highly of. Thus, it would be very easy for me to enjoy a coffee or full-blown meal with any of my professors.

Based on the information presented in both articles, I think that I can do a better job connecting with my professors, so that I can start building the foundations of an extensive and helpful professional network. As part of the assigned work for this class, I have written a letter to one of my professors to hopefully “kick-start” our relationship and to start building a network of people that will be able to write recommendations, provide advice and mentorship, and help me with problems that I run into while in college. Connecting with a teacher has never been more crucial that it will be in college — these are connections for life.

Weekly reflections are part of the Virginia Tech Honors College First-Year Seminar curriculum. Each week, one or more articles are presented for reading and reflection. The weekly reflection can be guided by these articles, but is generally an unrestricted writing exercise bounded only by an upper limit of 500 words. These reflections are presented on Medium exactly as they were written and submitted each week.