The Secret Suck Up’s College Survival Guide: Making Your Professor Remember You

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I’ve always been that girl. In high school I sat in the front, did all my homework, knew the answer to every question, was friends with my teacher and got all A’s, all the time. I assumed college would be no different. Boy was that a mistake. A slight turn of my professor’s head in my direction evokes some weird anticipation for acknowledgement. Oftentimes I go unnoticed, a form of rejection that’s simply ineffable. However, after a lifetime of kissing ass, I’ve used my expertise to my advantage and found the solution to the suck-up setback. So take out a pen, you’re going to want to write these tips down.

Say “Thank You” when you leave class

Now, you’re starting to think this is a joke. How the h-e-double hockey sticks could saying “thank you” make your professor remember you when there are 200 kids piling out the door like a herd of cattle? Well, I regret to inform you that, unlike many of your high school teachers, your college professors are masterminds. They’re like moms; they know everything. So even a brief “thank you” leaves a lingering image of who you are. Everyone likes to be appreciated and college professors are no different. The key is to give thanks in a subtle fashion without the qualities of the typical “I’m thanking you because I want an ‘A.’” Manners go a long way.

Email them relevant things

The likelihood of you sending your professor a random article is slimmer than the likelihood that you’ll be avoiding those tasty Twinkies tonight. However, if you really want to earn some fast brownie points, Google a relevant article, read it, write a message, send it and win teacher tokens. Yes, it’s really that easy. Just don’t go sending your chem professor an article about Shakespeare, unless, of course, Shakespeare really tickles their fancy.

Put electronics away

Did I really just ask you to throw your phone in your bag and leave your computer in your dorm? Call me a monster but this method of brown-nosing is quite effective. Without distractions, you’re actually able to focus on your professor, proving your interest (maybe) in the subject at hand. If your teacher sees you looking into her eyes rather than at a glowing computer screen, she is bound to acknowledge your attentiveness.

Ask meaningful questions

Well, no shit! Truthfully, you’d be surprised. I would cross “Can I use the bathroom?,” “When is class over?” and even the idiotic (but famous) “Is this important material?” off the list. Instead, ask questions about material you’ve familiarized with ahead of time. I suggest timing your questions just right. If someone with a lesser question just piped up in class, jump in with your brilliant thought. And remember, don’t ask questions every class; you don’t want to be too obvious.

Fake Interest

Ever “faked it?” Well, here’s your chance to fake it with A LOT less effort. In this case, all you have to do is look interested. Sleeping, drooling, head-bobbing or spilling your Starbucks on your neighbor when you jerk yourself out of REM sleep are surefire ways to get the hairy eyeball from your professor. Flash a quick smile when the professor glances your way. He won’t know that smile was actually you straining to suppress an eruption of gas at any moment.

Be a bobblehead

As I’ve evolved into a superior suck-up, I’ve perfected the craft, better yet, the art of “the bobblehead.” I’m not suggesting you glue your lashes to your lids and act like you have a severe neck tick. I’m simply proposing that you keep your bright eyes on the prize (your professor) and occasionally nod your head to agree or show that you understand. This is, by far, the greatest advice I can give, truly worthy of its own chapter in the Bible.

Keep in mind that these are my holy, most sacred secrets. Now that I have so graciously bestowed them upon you, you must swear to never abuse them or expose them. You can attempt to take on these sucking-up skills, but keep in mind, your bobblehead will simply never compare to mine. Sucks to suck (pounds of pun intended).

Sara is a freshman broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. Her habits include cheating on healthy eating, self-effacement, and being real. She defines herself by heavy doses of grit and wit, qualities she hopes to take full advantage of as the future Ellen DeGeneres-Chelsea Handler combo.

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