I'm going into my third year of university, and the past year (my second year) was a very bad time for me. I was admittedly overzealous, and quickly exhausted myself with my research work, overloading with courses, and my campus job.

Between all this, I also was taking a course that required me to seek the advice of a professor, for which I talked to about three professors in my department. While these professors were happy to meet with me and talk with me, however, I didn't really follow up with them as well as they asked (i.e. I didn't show them the final product, because I ended up not doing so well in the course).

I'm wondering if I seek the advice of these profs again, how high is the chance that these profs will even give me the time of day?

  • 2
    A sincere apology, and explanation of how your past circumstances were problematic but they've changed now (they have, right? You're not overcommitted, and that's how you know things will be different this time?), goes a long way toward repairing the damage. No normal professor wants to "punish" you for overcommitting and failing to deliver in the past; they just want to know that you value their time and energy and aren't going to waste it. – ff524 Jul 17 '16 at 21:22

You should not fear this. Faculty are very interested in students who will learn, do, and advance. However, you must "do" in order for them to believe you. In university/college, things are earned and not given.

Be at ease with faculty. Speak with them.
This is school. School is a place for learning. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; It is expected; It is rewarded.

I have been college faculty (part-time) for a few years. I know that sometimes student (or anyone) might have a bad day, week, or quarter/semester. If they are nice, committed, honest, and willing to do something to prove themselves, I'm willing to give them another chance. (But chances are limited.)

In some cases faculty just plain forget students. Faculty might have a regular FT job external to university (even full time faculty sometimes have FT jobs). They might have 40 students in each of 5 classes each quarter/semester. Too many to keep track of.

Faculty might also suggest a student followup with them, but they don't expect it. For example, you ask for help on a paper, and a different prof gives you help and says "Let me know what grade you get." They likely will not hold it against you.


Be frank (and brief) and ask up front if they will again work with you on your project. Whatever the response, you'll not have caused offense nor missed an opportunity.

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