– “ok this is just for a grade so I’ll hop right in the questions “
– “so do you want me to start with the questions”
– “uh ok I guess I’ll start asking questions now”
– “I know you’re busy so here are my questions”
When professors have you do projects where you are asked to connect with people that are working full-time jobs, they are basically saying ~here’s a chance to introduce yourself to people within the industry that you want to work with, and your “not-awkward” excuse for reaching out is because of a school assignment.
Once you connect with that person, and they agree to help you, they really just agreed to helping you build your network and your credibility. Treat them like a normal human, have a regular conversation, learn, connect & leave on a normal note.
I’ve had a few really good calls where I’ve referred students to internships, jobs, or other connections of mine. A FEW. I’ve probably talked to 50 college students this year.
The small personable touch makes all the difference.