Things I’ve Picked Up from Hanging Out with / Being Facebook Friends with College Professors

I have a lot of teacher friends.  Not colleagues or coworkers – friends.  I hang out with them on weekends and watch Packers games with them.  Some are related to me, some by blood and others by marriage, so we share in family gatherings.  And, yeah, we’re Facebook friends.  Like anyone, they post about the joys and frustrations of their jobs occasionally (within reason – no name dropping or boss bashing).  And some of these friends teach at the college level.

This post is directed at my younger readers – the teens who are not yet in college and the young adults making their way through higher education now.  Kids, when I say I know what you need to do to get ready for college, it’s not just because I’ve been there before.  I may also be friends with your future professors.  They tell me things – things that probably should be common sense, but apparently isn’t since they’re dealing with this stuff on a daily basis.  So consider me your inside source on college professors and take this well-meaning advice, both for your sake and theirs. Keep reading!

A Note About Professionalism

12th grade school play.  Ah, the memories...

12th grade school play. Ah, the memories…

When I was in 12th grade, I played a secretary in the high school play.  I thought I had done well picking out my costume.  I was wearing dress pants, a nice sweater, and my boots (the only closed-toe high heals I owned at the time).  My director, a fashionable young teacher, looked me over and approved everything but my hair.  I had pulled it back and secured with a green elastic band.  She told me to switch the elastic to a simple clip.  “The colored hair band is appropriate for you to wear as a teenager,” she said, “but I would never wear that as a professional adult.”

For some reason, that comment struck me pretty darn hard.  It was the first time I remember anyone pointing out the difference between dressing nice and dressing professionally.  It was the first time I realized that different things are appropriate at different times in life.  It was the first time I consciously considered what was meant by “professionalism”.

After that, I started paying more attention on my own to what was considered “professional”, but there were so many other aspects of professionalism that no one ever taught me.   Continue reading