A student stopped by to catch up last week. He told me his name and shook my hand. I looked at his face, and then I drew a complete blank. He seemed nice enough, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember him. And yet, there he was, talking about my course with a comfortable familiarity.
Had I completely lost it? Was it possible I had overlooked this student all semester?
I carefully looked down at my lap and was relieved to find I wasn’t wearing pajamas or yesterday’s clothes or anything that might explain why my memory had utterly failed. I went along with the conversation for a few seconds, nodding politely, and then I came clean.
“Do I know you?” I asked.
“I’m taking your class,” he replied. “Next semester.”
“Next semester? You mean in September?”
“And you stopped by to meet me three months before the class starts?”
All right kid, you win. That’s right. You’re my new official favorite student of the Fall 2015 school year. I still don’t remember your name, but I’ve got all summer to check my fall rosters and figure it out.
Note to all other students – anyone that takes the time to voluntarily meet their professor months in advance is winning some serious brownie points. Now you may think that this move, executed beautifully by the student, was designed to influence me.
It was. And it worked.