Ask Edgar: Intimidating professors, dating and raging
Dear Mr. Poe,
I enjoyed the single life my first semester at college, but now I think I’m ready to settle down. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I really want to ask this girl out. I was great at “dating” in high school, but college seems like a whole different game. Any advice?
Lonely in Lefevre
Dear Lonely in Lefevre,
You’re right. Dating in high school and dating in college are two entirely different fields to navigate. Instead of needing your parents to drive you to the movies, you and your date are just a few minutes’ walk away from a lovely, romantic brunch at O-Hill surrounded by hung-over first years and watery scrambled eggs. Instead of planning an incredibly elaborate prom invitation for your high school sweetheart, you can now pretty much walk up to any girl at a party and just start dancing with her. Welcome to college dating — the rules are entirely different. There are many different types of relationships on college campuses. Before if you met at each other’s lockers in between classes and sat together at football games it was assumed you two were exclusive, but college romances can take a variety of forms. There’s the typical first-year guy move of “I really like you, but I need to hook up with other girls before we can be together” (note: this strategy is not recommended); the study partners who accomplish very little actual studying but still claim that [insert class here] is the main reason for their relationship because neither wants to actually commit (also not recommended); and the perfect and devoted couple you just know are destined to walk down the aisle of the University Chapel in a few short years. College dating offers a range of choices, and you just have to find the one right for you.
Of course, you could always sign up online to be set up on a Love Connection date to find that special Valentine’s Day someone.
Love is in the air,
I’ve been celebrating syllabus week (i.e. no homework, tons of partying), but looking at the syllabi I was handed in my hung-over stupor, it seems I have a lot of work due in the next few weeks and no desire to do it. Any suggestions on how to get motivated?
Dear Rage Face,
Edgar respects your hard-partying start to the semester. Whoever says they use the first week of classes to get ahead is either the most Type A of about 14,000 Type A undergrads or is just deluding themselves. I should tell you to use all your breaks between classes to hammer out your assignments. Then in the evenings, resign yourself to staying in the library until you finish a certain amount of work — enough to keep you there until 8 or 9 p.m. so the prospect of going out looms within sight, which will keep you motivated.
Dear Mr. Poe,
I’ve never been challenged quite like I am now with a professor who truly intimidates me. I get downtrodden every time I enter his classroom, knowing how painfully stupid I will feel about 15 minutes into the lecture. I haven’t started out well in this class and I really need to redeem myself before the first assignment. How do I go about approaching this professor in a professional way to reap the benefits of his knowledge and not get stomped down by his condescension?
Nobody likes a pretentious professor, but remember that the problem is in his head, not yours! You seem to be shooting yourself down before you even have a chance. If you’re feeling lost already, review your lecture notes and pinpoint which parts are tripping you up. Go to the professor with a list of specific talking points in hand, speak with confidence and leave it up to him to do most of the talking. It is, after all, his job to do the explaining, not yours. You may find that this professor is arrogant during lecture but perfectly amicable one-on-one. If you don’t think you can handle talking to him yet, however, try the same approach with a TA, who may be a little less self-important than an accomplished professor. Either way, think of it as a simple mission: Get in, get your questions answered, and you’re done.