Is it a norm for students to be close to their profs?

A student asked:

Is it a norm for students to be close to their profs? Over the past 2 years, I’ve realised that many things (internship, planning of mods, exchange, thesis) seem to require talking to a prof in your own department. Ideally, the student should have good rapport with the prof. However, I was thinking then what if I’m a super introverted person? Wouldn’t the student have no one to look for? Wanted to know this because it feels like I’m the only one who can’t find a prof from my dept to seek advice for when I need it and I really struggle a lot with this

So here’s what I wrote:

It’s actually not a norm here in Singapore (but it is very common everywhere else in the world). I think it’s important to see this as a challenge to develop yourself socially and professionally, even as an introvert. Because the unfortunate reality is that we live in an extrovert-dominant world, and we introverts have to learn how to adapt. It’s difficult for sure, but it’s essential to our learning and growth because like it or not, you’ll have to do stuff like this in the future when you work. Now, the good news is that a lot of profs are also very introverted, so they’ll be quite at home with you and your way of interaction. So don’t fret about it.

I highly recommend the book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain (https://www.amazon.sg/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352153). It’s very empowering for introverts like us. Don’t see your introversion as a weakness, but as something unique and powerful to offer to this heavily extroverted world. :)

Author: Jonathan Y. H. Sim

Jonathan Sim is an Instructor with the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. He is passionate about teaching and he continues to research fun and innovative ways of engaging students to learn effectively. He has been teaching general education modules to a diverse range of undergraduate students and adult learners at the University.

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