Building Relationships With Faculty

Amelia Dunaway is an LLS student blogger.

I am one of those people who has always been shy when it comes to building relationships with my professors. Before I came to law school, the mere thought of “having” to meet with a professor outside of class made me nervous. It’s not that they were mean or anything like that, just that “I need to see you after class” were words that I never wanted to hear. They were always an indication that something was wrong, not a sign that I had an opportunity to build a new professional relationship.

Some of my reluctance came from a cycle that I think is very common – someone doesn’t understand a concept, so she or he becomes too nervous to ask about it as time goes on because, beyond a certain point, having to ask about it indicates that you are “behind” and “behind” is a place that you never want to be. Of course, that was all in my head, and the secret to getting out of that cycle was in my head as well – I had to remind myself that law school is called that for a reason and that reason is because the professors are there to help you learn.

During my time at Loyola, that is exactly what they have done. My experience with my professors has been nothing short of fantastic. They are always there when I have difficulty understanding a difficult point. They are never intimidating, and they never look down on me, but it is always obvious that they know what they are talking about, having an extensive background in their specialty, and are willing to share everything that they know with me.

That was exactly what happened during my torts class that I took last semester. I was new to law school and I was unsure how to approach all of the work in this class. After midterms, I arranged to speak to the professor about my performance in the class and find out where I did well and where I could improve. Going in, I felt worried and intimidated but, after a clear, honest, and open assessment of my performance on the exam that lasted thirty minutes, I left with a very clear sense of where I did well and where I could have done better. Because I reached out of my comfort zone, my grade on the final exam improved significantly. Needless to say, my relationships with my professors have improved as time has gone by. Meeting with my professors is now something that I look forward to, and I look forward to strengthening those relationships as time goes by.