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Peer Advice: Developing a Connection with your Graduate School Professors


If your undergraduate school was anything like mine, at a large public university, you know how big the classes were and how difficult it was to build a connection with your professors.

Fortunately, here at Marshall B. Ketchum University, it’s not intimidating at all, in fact we are given so many opportunities along the way to connect with our professors. You can think of developing strong relationships with professors as a form of networking in a field that you’ll be in for many years to come. These connections can be important both academically as well as professionally! Although it can be a little nerve-racking to find the courage to speak up and ask questions, you can always start small. One of the first opportunities provided to you in SCCO’s optometry program is before you even begin classes. Prior to the start of your first year, you get an e-mail from your faculty advisor, which is a professor from the optometry program that you can reach out to when you might need guidance. Oftentimes, students are reluctant to e-mail back or talk to their faculty advisor, but it’s important to remember that these advisors are here for you throughout school and that they want the best for you! When I e-mailed back my faculty advisor, Dr. Lee, just to say hi before the start of school, he was actually surprised since I was the only one in my group who reached out. After that, I was able to talk to him comfortably around campus and even ask him questions throughout my first year that I normally wouldn’t know who to ask.

Even beyond your personal faculty advisor, your professors for each class are far more accessible than ever before. They are always there after class for questions, available during office hours, open to one-on-one talks if needed, and a few of them even provide us students with their phone number in case we have questions! The class sizes are small and the lab sizes are even smaller. You end up spending so much time with your lab instructors in an intimate setting that building a connection with them is easy. These are the same professors and doctors that you will be working under in the following years in clinic, so having a good relationship with them could be helpful! Additionally, these professors here at MBKU have so much knowledge and so many clinical pearls that being comfortable enough to reach out to them outside of class will be beneficial to you as a student and practitioner.

Group of students at a conference