I kid you not, sometimes when I attend a lecture it feels like it is not a professor standing in front, but a personified Wikipedia. With the exception that the professor does not directly ask for donations, the analogy seems to hold. The professor speaks with a beloved objectiveness, cites its sources and offers you additional information to review.
Naturally, they present these traits formally in the classroom, but what is interesting is that at the same time they manage to create an enthusiastic atmosphere that actively invites you to engage into the discussion of the topic, and this for all of my courses! So it is awesome to attend the lectures because I get the opportunity to share the professor’s passion about the subject.
One of my most enthusiastic lecturers, Dr. Jason Farquhar, is a researcher at the Donders Institute and a specialist in brain-computer interfaces (BCI). Think of operating a computer with mere thoughts – VERY awesome, right? Well, he will supervise the research about BCI communication in parabolic flights, so now imagine operating a computer with mere thoughts, but in SPACE! – Isn’t that even more awesome? It is hard to explain how happy I am with my lectures and how it is to be in a lecture hall with all these cool people, but I hope that this example of my enthusiasm can let you imagine it.
On a similar matter, shortly during your first semester you will cotton on the idea of having teaching assistants, or T.A’s for short. They are second-year students (bachelor) that got very good grades for the courses you are currently taking and who not only will answer your questions and grade you in practical or exercise classes, some will also prepare the workgroup sessions you have. Having TA’s is great because it solves the problem of having too many students in one classroom. In other words, it allows for individual attention for each student.
This intelligent and beautiful coordination between the professors and students, allows a second-year student to practice the course he or she liked while also earning good money, and it allows for a one-on-one teaching environment for first-year students, which I find lovely!
So there you have it! If you really enjoy a course then you should get a good grade on it, so you may help others as a TA next year. And if you seek passion, then you will find that having professors who are also scientist to be very inspiring.
Hasta la vista, baby!