As a university student, regardless of level (Freshman through Senior and Graduate Students), you can have concerns about working through difficulties you encounter in a given course or with a given professor. There are ways to succeed in these situations and to get the grade you want. Our goal is to help you get there.
Thus this book will be divided into two main sections:
Succeeding with Difficult Professors
Those professors, who for whatever reason, cause you concerns, upset, and/or perturbation. There can be many reasons for why you see them as difficult. Herein you will find ways to cope, succeed, and hopefully get the grade you want from them.
Succeeding in Tough Classes — doing well in classes that are considered difficult (hard).
The first section will discuss ideas and skills you can use to get through personal difficulties with professors. The second section will focus on techniques, study skills, and approaches that will help you get the grades you want.
You might wonder what I am bringing to this equation. With four college degrees and many extraneous college credits, I have paid my dues as a student. I also have twenty-plus years experience as a college professor and administrator. My experience as a student and as a professor ranges from studying and teaching at small private universities to large public universities. I have learned from, observed, and yes, even suffered with all types of professors from many different perspectives. As a result I will use a fair number of personal anecdotes throughout this book. I hope these illustrations are valuable.
My approach to difficult people [Understanding and Working with Difficult People] is that the onus is always on myself, and what I can do to make the situation better. You may wish the professor were different, you might want to complain to a higher authority, but ultimately, in most cases, the burden falls on YOU to make the best of the situation. We can always blame other people – our professors – but it probably won’t get us very far. Keep in mind, too, that there are always things we can learn from our experiences with difficult people and difficult situations. While you may be very intelligent and highly motivated, there are always new things to learn, especially when it comes to people. Everyone is different, and no cut and dried ‘formula’ or approach works with everyone.
The same open-mindedness applies to learning skills and techniques that can help improve your ability to get through difficult courses. You probably have specific ways that you study and learn. I can pretty well guarantee there will be some suggestions included here that you haven’t heard or haven’t tried yet. They work! As you will see I have had some very difficult (and tough) professors to get past in my studies.