As aspiring PR professionals, what better place to start building our personal reputation than in the classroom? Public relations is about managing your reputation, or how people perceive you. Your actions in class say a lot about who you are as a student and a person. As a teaching assistant for Social Media and the Enterprises, I have come to appreciate what our professors endure from students and learned the lay of the professor land. So, let’s start here in school and work on building a great personal reputation by avoiding pissing off the people who grade your papers. These 5 tips won’t guarantee you an A, but they will certainly help you look like and hopefully be the gold-star student.
1. Text in class
Professors know that there isn’t anything that interesting under your desk to peek at during lecture. No one just looks down sneakily at their crotch and smiles in the middle of lecture for the heck of it. Trying to sneak a peek at your phone during class isn’t just detracting your attention from the lecture, but is insulting to the professor, who has taken time to prepare the lesson for that day. Do yourself a favor and leave your phone in your bag. That text will be there later!
2. Complain About the workload
Even though you aren’t happy about writing that 10-page essay, remember that your professor has to grade it — along with about 50 other papers. Your professors are giving you that amount of work to prepare you for a future career, so look at it as though they are doing it to help you (as a TA, I can promise you we really are trying to help!) I’m not saying to act really excited, but showing your appreciation by not saying anything and merely remembering how many hours they spend grading your work.
3. “Take notes” on your laptop, but actually go on Facebook
Even if you are taking notes, teachers always suspect you are surfing the web or checking your social media accounts. Although I love social media, it’s definitely a distraction from your work. It’s also obvious to your professors you aren’t paying attention to their lecture and is quite insulting to the person who is speaking and grading you. Stick to old-fashion notebooks and give your teacher your full attention. Your professors and your GPA will appreciate the care.
4. Skip class and arrive the next session and ask, “Did I miss anything?”
No, actually the class sat there contemplating where you were. Of course you are going to miss the lecture material, so make it your responsibility to get notes from a friend or email the professor for a copy of the slide show if it isn’t already posted online. If you can, also let your professor know you will not be in class — they are generally accommodating and it shows them you genuinely care about making up the missed work.
5. Not read the syllabus
Seriously, it is the most frustrating thing when students ask questions that are clearly stated in the syllabus for the class. Professors take the time to compile those for you, so do them and yourself a favor and read through it so you don’t miss anything and look clueless for asking something that is clearly written in there. If you ask something from there, it looks like you don’t care about these fine details. What does that say about your work ethic in the class as a whole?