You will hear it all throughout your college career, you might even hear it during your preparation for college. Talk to your professors outside of class! Go to their office hours, meet with them whenever you are both available, even if it is a little bit after class each time. Those relationships you develop with your professors will save you in ways you would never think about. Here are a few examples.
Coming back to school from Spring Break I was in a pretty serious car accident. I am okay but it did involve me missing a full week of classes. This is the third time something has come up this semester that has caused me to miss classes (illness and a family death were the other two). This semester I think I have missed more classes than all my other semesters combined. This is a problem at my school, most professors start deducting points if you miss more than a certain number of days (usually 2-5). When I got home from my car accident, I e-mailed all my professors and told them what happened and that I didn’t know when I would be able to return to class. College is not like high school when it comes to absences, it is a lot more difficult to make up missed classes. All of my professors were understanding, none of them penalized me, and they also gave me time and excused me from assignments that I didn’t know I was going to have. A lot of this is in part to the fact that I have talked to these professors before and they know that I wouldn’t lie about something like that. When a professor knows you, they are much more likely to be understanding and helpful when you need it.
Another example, as my school is on a journey to find a way to make registration easier and less-stressful to the students (yet to actually happen), they made my registration during a time when I am in class. I talked to the professor and told him what was going on and we came up with an option so I don’t miss the start time of my registration.
Finally, as my senior year is approaching and I have a lot of leeway in my potential schedules for the next two semesters since I have met most of my graduation requirements, I have been looking into doing independent study. I met with a professor I had in the past and we discussed my independent study, and even though she has very little free time she has offered to help guide me on my independent study and get me in touch with others that would also be helpful. She even offered to be on the panel of my senior seminar class that I have to take! So the relationships you build with professors, even if you only have them once or twice, can really help you in ways you may not see just quite yet. The more people you have connections to, the better you will be!