Column: How to get through the semester with a challenging professor

Madison Zimmerman, Columnist

You have probably had your fair share of mean bosses, crappy coworkers and slacking friends.

When you get to college you will hear a lot about bad professors. Your one friend’s professor assigns too much homework. Another professor is a hard grader and no one ever gets an A.

Even in high school I had teachers I didn’t love. That doesn’t change in college. Instead of complaining about the professor that gave me an unfair grade or in accounting how I have three assignments due during the school week, let me tell you tips on how to get through the semester while having a bad professor.

Freshman year I was a biology major. I took BIO 120 and it had a lab along with a lecture section. My lecture section had the kindest professor. She was so sweet and understanding and was a fair grader. I did amazing in the lecture section of BIO 120. The lab professor was the complete opposite.

I didn’t even realize that I had different professors for lecture and lab until the first day of lab when my lab professor was different from my online lecture professor. I was so used to high school where the same teacher taught the same subjects for everyone. The lab section of BIO 120 was a complete nightmare. I still thank the universe for the Group Me chat that I was in because it essentially saved my sanity and my grade.

The professor was super confusing on instructions and due dates. It was almost impossible to navigate the Blackboard content to be able to find my labs that were due. I had a really hard time in that class. I also learned a lot about what to do when you are struggling with a class or even struggling to learn because of a professor you have. 

Going through that lab class ultimately set me up with skills that I would have never learned had I not gone through that class. One of the biggest takeaways from that class was to get to know your classmates. Granted, it was when all classes were online besides the lab, so it was nearly impossible to meet other students in your classes. But please just try to talk to one person — especially if no one in the class makes a Group Me chat.

If you know one person, chances are if you don’t understand a concept, they will and vice versa. Sit by someone and ask their name and major and go on from there. I know it may be intimidating at first to talk to a complete stranger, but everyone is looking for a shoulder to lean on in class. Once you get to know them a little bit, ask for their social media or number so that if you have questions you can ask them before you email the professor. Chances are, they’ll know the answer and they can help you out.

Not only could you potentially make a friend but you also can get help and calm some nerves knowing that other students are struggling with a class as much as you are.