I went to a high school that was a lot smaller than most, and we had what was called “enrichment” periods in which we could go back to a teacher’s class and ask for help with assignments, study, and basically get “enriched” a bit more at the end of the day. Well, along with the extra help, we also got extra time to talk to our instructors and learn about them as actual people, not just teachers out to burden us with more homework assignments. Odd as it sounds, for the most part, we actually liked talking to our teachers. It helped us in the classroom, because we understood them on a different level as well as on an academic level, which helped with application of the material in our everyday lives. They gave us advice and shared their experiences with us, helping us with our emotional growth as well as our intellectual growth. I never realized how much that influenced me until recently.
In college I found that I did the same things, I would talk to professors outside of the classroom when I saw they walking in the hall, and now, in nursing school, I realized I do the same thing. Today we had a big potluck for one ofÂ our nursing organizations, and a lot of our professors were there. It was so nice to be able to see so many of them without the attachment to a lecture. They asked about classes, and I told them about how work was going, and they offered their advice with classes and applying for jobs. And while they’re still my instructors, I don’t feel that awkwardness around them that I am being “graded” for what we talk about. In fact, I feel like I (sometimes) learn more in the time I spend with them just talking about nursing and their experiences than I can in a 4 hour lecture.
I’ve had friends tell me I am crazy for wanting to go talk to an instructor off of class time. But it helps me. It helps me put my career into perspective, and I think it shows them that I am willing to learn about the field I am going into. My advice is this. Take the time to talk to your professors. If they mention something that they do at work, or some idea that you are interested in, go talk to them. Utilize their office hours, even if you’re asking for help on an assignment or reviewing a test, you can learn more from them than you think.Â They’re professors because they love nursing, and they want to help you. Get to know them as nurses not just as that person in front of the class every week, and you’ll be surprised at the stories you hear, and the lessons you can learn from them. Be open to it, they were where we are once, too.