Dr. Daniel Kelly: Students Building Better Relationships With Their Professors

The Sports Intern

Dr. Daniel Kelly, Associate Professor, at Wilmington College talks about students building better relationships with their professors. 

1. What advice can you give students trying to prepare themselves for a big exam?

The best advice I give students as they prepare for exams is to “functionally” prepare themselves for the experience. Many sport management students come from a sport background (HS/College). The best way to “functionally” prepare for the exam is similar to practice before a game/match/competition.

The key is visualizing potential questions/scenarios you will face. My best students have been able to focus and envision potential questions they may face on exams. This form of practice/preparation is similar to what many students (possibly former/current athletes) deal with in their everyday lives. This process also alleviates test anxiety because they are mentally prepared for the task at hand.

2. How can students build better relationships with their professors?

From my perspective, student participation is the key to building a better relationship with professors. I am not referring to brown-nosing but to genuine interest in the topic. I prefer an open discussion type of forum where students feel comfortable posing their opinions and thoughts throughout the lesson.

Personally the classroom is a safe haven for thought and creativity. My job as a professor is to help students make better decisions not create clones of my personal beliefs. I believe for students to get the most out of their relationships with professors is to have a give and take relationship.

In all fairness, I know that all professors are not open to debate and correction so a level of “prudence and diplomacy” may be in order for the result to be advantageous to both as long as the classroom maintains the appropriate amount of respect.

3. How can students prepare & practice for an interview?

Practice, Practice, Practice (We are talking about Practice!!! – Allen Iverson).

Interviewing is a skill that needs to be developed and honed. The students in my program are required to record their elevator pitch’s and interviews. This allows for proper feedback and instructions on things most times we overlook (mannerisms, facial expressions, etc.).

Similarly, to an athlete who watches film as they prepare for a game, students should watch the film of their interviews in order to alleviate mistakes and improve their presence under pressure.

4. How can students build their communication skills?

Communication is the key to successfully navigating the transition from the classroom to the professional workplace. In my opinion research and performing due diligence, is the key.

1. Firstly, students should research the prospective organization they wish to join and familiarize themselves with the mission, vision, objectives, and goals.
2. Secondly, students should realistically figure out how do they fit in the corporate culture they wish to transition to.
3. Thirdly, by preparing themselves (studying and preparation), their comfort level and confidence will increase allowing them to “communicate” more effectively and efficiently.
4. Lastly, In conclusion confidence and trust in your respective preparation will allow for you to confidently express and communicate what makes you the best fit.

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