Friday, November 6, 2009

My Honest Opinion

Sometimes it's funny to look at how people have been conditioned by society to think that honesty and stupidity are often intertwined.

During the very recent stress of midterms, for instance, I went in to talk with one of my professors and get some advice on the paper that would be due in just a few short days. I have to admit that I was getting a somewhat sick enjoyment out of the assignment since it was on a topic that interested me, but I still had anxiety over what my professor wanted from me. Maybe it was because of my somewhat exhausted state of mind that I was so blunt, but after a brief conversation I said something to the effect of:

"I don't care what kind of grade you give me. I care about what I get out of my work; not what you think of it."

Yikes! I only realized the next day, when I mentioned this to some friends, how easily my professor could have taken that the wrong way; their reactions were anything from shock to distress. I never thought of it that way, however, because there wasn't a sliver of offensive intent in my words. So what, right?

Well, apparently my professor knew that as well since, right after I said that to her, she responded with a smile, a nod, and said:

"That's exactly how it should be."

I guess she knew as well as I did that my reasons behind saying that weren't as an excuse if I happened to get a not-so-great grade, but instead just a way to affirm my changing perspective on the validity of grades. I want to get as much as I can out of college, and some arbitrary letter isn't going to tell me whether or not I succeeded in that.

Now, not all professors are that accepting or open-minded, so it's important to have some tact when communicating with them. However I feel it is very important that you also be honest with them. Teachers are not your enemies; they're here to give you an education. If you're up front with them - about what troubles you may be having, what questions you may possess - then you have a pretty safe bet of getting some helpful feedback.

Professors aren't mind readers. Most have less experiencing in actual teaching methods than did your high school teachers! If you don't establish some sort of relationship with them and communicate, then they can't know how to help you. Honesty isn't stupidity. The only stupid thing you can do is refusing to take advantage of all that a Mac professor can offer you.