My law school has an annual auction to raise money for public interest scholarships, and last spring I bid on and won tickets to a baseball game with one of my favorite professors. So today my friend JK (who also loves this prof) and I went to the Nationals Game with my professor and one his colleagues.
In addition to amazing seats, great food and beer (on them), and an exciting game, it was just fun hanging out with professors. At first JK and I were worried about what we would talk about but there was never a moment of awkwardness over the 4+ hour span. It helped that the profs are political junkies like us, love con law, and are just overall funny. Before law school, I would have never imagined socializing with professors liket this.
Looking back, it made me think about what it would have been like to go to a smaller university. Although I loved UCLA, huge classes meant that we did not get to know most of our professors very well. The vast majority probably would not even recognize me if I walked by them. I was lucky, however, that there were two professors and a few club advisors who mentored me and really helped me over the years,
I think it all worked out in the end. Even though connections with professors at UCLA were more difficult to make, they were still possible. Moreover, I think even at smaller undergraduate schools, you don't have the same kind of relationship as you do at law school. Because we're a little older and in a professional school, we are treated a little more as equal. Heck, some students are older than the professors at our school.
But of course there's still the hiearchy and the paternal aspect of professors-- like when my professor today gave my friend JK and I money to go buy dessert.