Where would you be in your life without the impact of others? At college, it is impossible to pass from day to day without meeting and greeting people who all influence your life in one way or the other. With so many general education classes and concentrated degree-focused classes, undergraduate programs are the perfect time in one’s life to form connections with individuals who can help prepare your future.

I find that people are prone to succumb to the misconstrued expectation that besides getting the good grades they need in their classes and possibly working a job, nothing else matters or presses great importance on college students. Truly, undergrad is not simply a time to achieve a degree; it is a fruitful basket of professors and educated colleagues alike willing to form meaningful, lasting relationships with students who are willing to seek them out.

What would happen if you simply emailed a professor from a class you enjoyed and asked them to meet with you to discuss your thoughts on your future? Many times, these professors are willing to share their stories and knowledge with students, but too often students find these situations and meetings to be potentially awkward. Remember, professors were in our shoes at one point, and they know just how scary it can be to navigate through one’s career choices alone.

Without the meetings I sought out in the past few months, I earnestly believe that I would still be in the wrong major maintaining a wrong mindset and future career plan for my life. Ask a professor to discuss their college experience and thought process behind their studies with you. Possibly, their story could inspire, provoke or reinforce the current plans you hold for your life.

Before the concept of university education, the prime way an individual could seek knowledge and learn a craft or skill from a superior was through a mentor-apprentice relationship. I find that the same applies today. Honestly, I have grown the most in my field through the one on one relationships I have established with a handful of my professors, and that alone drives me to achieve the most I can out of my classes.

To get the most out of one’s undergraduate education, I find that it is vital to value the importance of the student-teacher relationship. You never know what the impact of one professor could have on the course of your life.