A student just passed me, walking from a parking lot toward campus, with a coffee cup in each hand, a textbook squished to her chest, and bag dangling from of the crook of her elbow. I am hoping one of those drinks is for her professor. Yes, you read correctly: for her professor! Are you shocked by that statement?
Students, how much do you know about the professors teaching you this term? Have you looked at their faculty webpage? Have you read their CV (a CV is an education resume and if often on their website)? Do you know what type of research they specialize in? How many publications they have contributed to, or books they have written/co-authored?
Frequently students tell me, ‘I emailed my professor but s/he hasn’t gotten back to me.’ In the case of the students I work with, the comment often pertains to the signing of a form which has a looming deadline, so the meeting/signing is important. Bringing this back to the student with the coffees, I ask my students this “when you emailed the professor, did you offer to take her/him to coffee or tea?” If you are willing to spend $2-5 on a friend’s beverage, why not make the same investment on a professor who you want to solicit ideas from, ask to oversee a special project, participate in research in their lab, write a letter of recommendation, etc. Oh, and do NOT FORGET these are the people grading your academic work!
A cup of coffee could go a long way in establishing a positive relationship. I think the value of the student-professor relationship is way more precious than the cup of coffee, and the conversation you have in the java line is worth a lot more than $2!