By Sarah Wright
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Making Friends Where it Counts
You know you should be on good terms with your professors, but it's also a good idea to be friendly with the campus staff you interact with at school. Of course, we're not suggesting you go overboard or suck up in a disingenuous fashion. People can usually see through that, and in any case, it's a bad habit to get in. But being friendly and polite at all times can help make a lasting positive impression that will help you out in the long run. Don't believe it? Here's a breakdown of on-campus staff who can make your life easier.
At most campuses, the registrar holds the keys to your ability to get into the classes you want and need to take. Scheduling snafus do happen, and blowing up at the registrar probably isn't going to result in the best outcome for you. If you need to get into a different class, or need some strings pulled for your schedule, try being nice to the registrar. Often, these staff members are stressed and tired of dealing with irrationally rude students. Being nice might make you seem worth a little extra effort.
Residence Life Staff
Whether you've got a problem roommate, a maintenance issue in your room or the desire to secure yourself a cushy spot on campus for next year, you should get to know the residence life staff on your campus. It's their job to deal directly with students and make sure life in the dorms runs smoothly, so they'll probably be more open to getting to know students than some other college staff.
Though professors are fairly self-sufficient in terms of creating a syllabus and checking student work, most academic departments or divisions have a secretary in charge of dealing with administrative matters like reporting student grades to the registrar and making sure important things, like major qualifying exams and theses, get credited as having been turned in on time. Allowing the department secretary to put a face to your name by stopping over for a friendly chat may make the difference between disaster and kerfuffle if, say, you accidentally oversleep and forget to turn your junior year qualifying exam in on time.
The most useful resource in the library is the staff. Sure, computers can help you find books in the database, but sometimes it takes a human touch to track down just what you're looking for. With advice and (generally) a true desire to help students, college librarians can be important in the stress-free completion of your studies. Plus, if you play your cards right, you might be able to get your late fees erased now and then.
You might be ready to hurl your computer across the room if, for instance, you have an exam due in ten minutes and your generally reliable connection to the campus WiFi network has crashed out. But getting on the phone and screaming at campus tech support probably isn't going to reap you any speedy and particularly helpful results. Better to keep your cool and treat them with respect. Doing so might help you get better-connected to the staff members who can be of most use to you when you've got crippling technical difficulties.
You can follow a lot of the same steps you would to get on friendlier terms with your professors in order to be more recognizable to campus staff.