The following essay was submitted by Lauren Cowperthwaite as part of our #Write2Win Contest. It was one of our favorite submissions, so she’s won a prize and we’re reposting it here.

iStock_000009796827SmallLousy or unfair professors sound like they are only in movies but unfortunately, they are common. These range in variety and can be found at any college, whether community or university. The professor could be unavailable outside of class, have unrealistic expectations, or they may perhaps have a different way of grading.

When one of these come my way, I try to stay on their good side. I also try to follow their syllabus to the T. If their tests are completely challenging, I try to figure a little technique that they do. (Trust me, they all have one.) If you have an issue, try to talk to him/her and let them know your situation. Sometimes professors are not aware that students are having issues and a little talk can go a long way. Usually when a professor is approached, they are more easy-going with students that are willing to apologize if they did do something wrong and those that are actually doing well in the class. (Perfect attendance at least, not necessarily grades.)

If this fails, perhaps try to go to your local library or learning center to find a tutor. The tutor can help you with your assignments but they are also aware of professors that are hard to deal with and they may have certain solutions. Another great tip is to talk to other students in the class. Most students do drop classes with unrealistic professors, but those that stick to the class may have a technique or other solution. If all else fails, surprisingly your academic advisor can help you. They might be able to help you switch to a different teacher or suggest another solution.

Although it does seem like the end of the world when your professor seems to not understand your situation, try not to worry. It can be fixed.