There has always been a misconception that lecturers favor students who are involved in the subjects they teach.
To connect to a person you look up to you can always have discussions regarding your future plans, career growth, etc.
Lecturers are always fond of students who like to ask for advice from them in anything and everything.
"What made you choose your career?"
"What other things were you interested in?"
"How did you start to figure out which area was something you really wanted to pursue?"
"What hands-on experience would you recommend I look into?"
"What are some jobs related to the field you are in?"
"What double major or minor would you recommend?"
"What major will give me a wide job market?"
These are some ideas that will hopefully get you started in a good direction.
Exciting time of life you are in!
Angela D.’s Answer
Why did you choose this field of study? What has been the most surprising finding in your research or area of expertise? What do you like most about teaching and why? Have you ever thought about writing an autobiography or biography? And my all time favorite: If you could go back in time to when you were in college, what advice would you give to your younger self...especially in terms of work/volunteer experience and educational success?
Alice Foster McCallum
Alice Foster’s Answer
You don’t need a long conversation to make an impression. Just showing up tells the professor that you are invested. However, it would be helpful to have at least one thing to say or ask about so that you don’t find yourself introducing yourself and then saying “Yeah, well, that was all I wanted…” within 30 seconds. Professors often mention their own work in class; maybe s/he did research in Peru, for example, so you can say you’ve never been to Peru and ask what it’s like. Maybe s/he has referenced a book that you read for another class that you could mention and make some comment on.
If you are truly interested in the subject area and want to invest in it, you can ask for recommendations for publications or websites in that area that you should check out, or somebody interesting in the field that you should follow on social media. Those kinds of things need to be genuine, though. The professor could very well follow up with you later to see what you thought, and you will need to show that you asked with the intention of following through.
Alice Foster recommends the following next steps:
Look up the professor’s bio and ask them questions related to their personal and career background. You might find that you share common interests or some other common factor like faith, community involvement, hometown, language, etc.
You can also read abstracts of their research papers or articles and ask questions about those things. Lastly, if they’re involved with any special programs or institutes on campus or off campus, ask them about their work there and how you can get involved.