Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Oh, dear, sweet Sue! You are in that never desirable position known as "between a rock and a hard place." You want to learn, but are fearful of reaching out to your profs to attain that education - fearful that we're all just secretly mocking you when you aren't looking and fearful that when we do say we want to help, we're only pretending. The down and dirty truth, Sue, is that we are all of those things all at once. Because you are asking about professors in general, not just one or 2 specific ones. And you will find all types at Uni. As an undergrad, I had professors who were never available to talk about issues I had with the subjct, and I had professors who were willing to advise me in all areas of my acadmine life - and who eventually became my friends, and now colleagues.
What you need to realize, Sue, is that (1) you're reading a blog where proffies come to unload - to vent all the frustration that builds up when teaching students who, for the most part, are nothing like you - they couldn't give a flying batshit about learning anything...at...all...ever. I was a superkeener as an undergrad, too - and I know that at first I came across as a total suck-up, kiss-ass douche. But I persisted - and eventually my profs either surrendered or realized that I wasn't a keener, I was simply eager to learn - meaning I was one of those rare college students who actually enjoy class, and schoolwork, and learning...wow! And now, these same profs are my graduate school thesis committee chairs.
Also, Sue, you need to understand that (2) just the fact that you are asking if you are a keener defines you as a keener. The key is to use it to develop working relationships with the professors who research those areas that interest you. Every person who attends or has attended graduate school was (and usually still is) a super-keener. We just hate those students who feign interest in the hopes of a grade bump and/or a recommendation for professional school.
My one word of true advice to you, Sue, is this: take a public speaking course and get over your fear of speaking in public. Find self-help books on how to be less shy, so you can ask pertinent questions *during* class. This is the only way I've been able to convince profs that I'm not a brown-noser, but that (a) I can think well enough to compose a relevant question and (b) I want to learn, not just do well in the class.
BTW - Your English isn't that bad, Sue - I have native-born American students incapable of writing as cogently as you... (which is a terrifying thought in and of itself...)