As the spring semester comes begins, we are all adjusting to new experiences. The start of a fresh semester brings about several things: new courses, new internships, new motivations, new well-rested mindsets, and new professors. Every once in a while, you get stuck with a terrible professor and I mean TERRIBLE. This professor has a glaring reputation across campus; upperclassmen tell you horror stories about this individual and the reviews on Rate My Professor are so bad that they cannot possibly be true. Unfortunately, you quickly learn that they are, indeed, true.
So, you're stuck with this terrible professor due to a schedule conflict, or the fact that this exact course is required for your degree and they are the only professor teaching it. Thus, you must tough it out. Every class that you complete is joyfully crossed off of your syllabus as you realize you are another step closer to finishing the semester where your life will be free of this terrible professor.
Here are 12 tips for you to keep in mind in order to successfully survive a semester with that terrible professor. While it will most certainly be challenging, you will be okay. Everyone has to deal with difficult people at some points in time.
1. Keep an open mind
Even though everyone on campus seems to know this professor's reputation, you should never judge until you have experienced the class yourself. Who knows... maybe you will end up liking them?
2. Maintain focus in class
While it can be easy to lose motivation and become distracted in a class where you have a not-so-great prof, you should always try your best to stay focused because you still need to do well in the class.
3. Don't believe everything you hear
So all of the horror stories and reviews on Rate My Professor may or may not be totally accurate. There really is no way for you to tell. Additionally, people are more likely to complain rather than express gratitude. In other words, if a professor is good, the chances of a student giving them great ratings or talking about them are not as high as compared to when a professor is bad.
4. Work even harder than you would in any other class
It may be very difficult to please the terrible professor, but maybe that is because they just have very high expectations or even different requirements than what the typical professor maintains for their students. As a result, you should use this challenge as a motivation to work even harder in an attempt to meet their standards. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.
5. Make friends in your class
Befriending your peers in this class has two definite pros. First, you will be more motivated to go to class because you will get to see your friends. Second, you will have a few people who understand your thoughts, feelings, concerns, and frustrations about this class because they are also experiencing it firsthand.
6. Complete all of your work
Don't fall behind in the workload because that will just make the class even more unbearable.
7. Go to your professor's office hours
I know this sounds absolutely horrible especially if you are not super thrilled about taking this professor's course to begin with. However, when you are in a one-on-one setting with them, the dynamics can be very different. You may learn how to connect with this terrible professor and that can be very beneficial.
8. Prioritize self-care
This is something that you should definitely get into the habit of doing no matter what the circumstances are. Self-care is important so that you can remain in a motivated, positive mindset.
9. Remember that everyone is different
Some personalities just do not mesh. People are varied and that is okay.
10. This is not the only time that you will run into difficult people
The world is full of difficult people, so this experience is great exposure for you to see how you choose to handle similar situations that you may be faced with.
11. Understand that professors are there to help you
They would not be a professor if they did not love the subject that they are teaching or if they did not want to impact lives in some aspect.
12. Realize that everything is a learning experience
Even if this is the worst period of your college experience and you would never want to do it again, you are learning a lot about yourself through this process. This terrible professor experience is impacting you in more ways than you may think while you are going through it.
13. You can't change the situation, but you CAN change how you react to it
This is your professor for the duration of the semester; there's no changing that. The only thing that can change is your attitude about the situation, and keeping a positive mindset about the reality of your situation can make a huge difference. Before you know it, the semester will be over!