When it comes to going to school in the USA, there are a lot of things people don’t tell you about, things you have to learn on your own as you go along. There is one thing in particular we should all know about, one of the most important things you can do for your college life, as well as pre-college and post-college. What is it? you ask. In the simplest manner possible, it is important to forge solid sustainable relationships.
Strong, supportive relationships will help you move through life no matter where you are, whether that be in the USA or Vietnam or anywhere else in the world. For instance, most colleges will ask for a letter of recommendation. Many people tend to think, “Oh, I can ask any old teacher to write that for me,” which is true, but if you never make a bond, or a deeper connection with the teacher, it will show through in the letter. When you make that deeper connection, a teacher will be able elaborate on your character and personality, which will give the review board at colleges a much clearer glimpse at who you are what you will potentially bring to the table.
Professors at college, as well as folks in the work place, are much more aware than we sometimes let on. At a young age, we are caught up in adolescent emotions, problems with girlfriends or boyfriends, fears, embarrassment, self-consciousness etc. etc. and this can sometimes mask our awareness of what is happening in the lives of others. Sure, we all have our issues and our back stories, but often times professors make it their job, not necessarily to get involved in the personal lives of students, but to make sure everything is on the up and up; caring professors want to see you succeed not only as a student but in life as well. Professors have a sixth sense to know when you are struggling. They can read it in your research papers and see it in your work ethic.
When I went to school, I had a number of professors who kept a very professional student/teacher relationship, but there were a couple who let it be known I could come to them as friends. These are the deeper connections I mentioned before. These friendly relationships are important to have, and often times we never allow for them to develop because we see those “in charge” as merely that and not as fellow human beings in the daily grind and struggle. We sometimes get so wrapped up in our own lives and emotions that we forget other people have lives outside of their workplace too.
So when you go to college in the USA, take time to feel people out, both students and professors. See who you relate to and allow the relationship to unfold. You never know what kind of opportunities it will create or what kind friendships will blossom.