Well, as they say, everything has its pros n cons. Well, lets jump straight into the awaited part. And mind you, they are just minor inconveniences and not “Bad” bad :)
The Bad Part:
The most important thing I find lacking here is the link between the Professor and the student. The professor arrives, teaches and goes. Maybe you talk and discuss on certain topics in class but that’s how far the relationship goes. He will know your face but not your name. And in some cases, not even your face. It does feel really odd and uncomfortable because from where I come from, we have a bond that in most cases exceeds outside the college too. Here it is too professional in nature. When I pointed this out to my friend, he said it is mainly because lecturing is not the only job of professors here in technical universities. They are involved in various projects sometimes national or even international. They constantly keep in touch with people from the industry and keep updating themselves. This makes lecturing only part time for them thus making things the way they are.
Moving on, the next thing that I feel can be put on the negative side is the software dependence. Having done most calculations and solutions by hand, it really feels like a new world where even for normal reports you end up using softwares. It turns worse when you don’t know those softwares. Here the level of problems and complexity is totally on a different level and this demands the need and use of these softwares. It is in fact good to be exposed to industry level complex cases and use various techniques to solve them and be more familiar with it.
Lastly, scheduling appointments. If you need to meet or talk to a professor, you need to mail him and schedule an appointment. While this basically is a good call, it does seem silly to schedule appointments for small queries that you might have. So you either mail him/her your doubts and he gets back to you or you can clear it during the breaks in the next lecture. Of course there are Professors who tell you to drop in anytime and if the door is open, it means you can come in and discuss your doubts.
Surprisingly, I guess this was all I had .. As I mentioned in the beginning, just minor inconveniences :)
Now for the tips :)
For the first part, if there is any professor whose subject interests you and you would like to work with him/her, go meet him/her. Make sure you meet them enough times either to get your concepts cleared or to share your ideas, so that they remember your name. This is level one. You have managed to make a place for your name. Next is all up to you. You can maybe put forward a proposal or tell them what you wish to do and ask for guidance and they will be willing to help you :)
Another major tip is, don’t waste time typing mails. Their time is more valuable than yours. So jump straight into the question or doubt. And no they wont judge you based on your mail. They get hundred’s of mail and they probably will spend only a few seconds to read and reply to your mail.
Thirdly, for people like me who aren’t much familiar with softwares, do contact the last batch students who are currently studying and ask them what softwares they work with so that you can familiarize with that software and be comfortable using them.
Rest, I am sure you will figure it out :) Good luck and have a good Spring :)