It is always a great idea to overcome your fear and talk to him/her. This will help you develop your communication skills and build healthy relationships with your teaching staff. These are some topics you can discuss with them.
- His/her class. This is the easiest one. Tell him what you find easy and useful, and what difficulties you face. Talk about recent events in class or latest news.
- The next class with the professor. You are always welcome to ask about the upcoming course and disciplines, so try to find out what subjects and/or readings will be covered and even what the schedule will be.
- Discuss your next studies. In case you consider a graduate institution to continue your studies, professors can give you a very valuable advice and make your choice less complicated.
- Career. It is always a good idea to ask a professor whether he or she knows or can suggest what profession to choose.
- Overall college academic problems. A professor might have valuable contacts to help you out, or can simply motivate you when things get hard for you in terms of curriculum. As a bonus, a sincere talk will definitely help you boost your communication skills.
- Personal or family issues which influence academic performance. It is quite important for your instructors to know if there exist factors (beyond your control, sometimes) that have a negative effect on your performance at college.
- Recommendation or reference letter(s). It is a good idea to talk about this if you know your professor appreciates your work, contribution to the class, and/or personal traits or academic skills. His words might determine your future career path.
- Study advice. Don’t be shy to ask about some tips on how to effectively study in and out of class, or to prepare for an exam or a seminar properly. Remember that professors used to be students just like you.
- Academic resources helpful for studies. If you are struggling with something, but your professor does not have time or possibility to help you, he or she might be willing to introduce you to a smart graduate, or one of his/her assistants capable of helping you out.
- Academic grants. A professor of yours most likely receives much more information about various scholarships than you do. When treated with respect and decency, he or she might be willing to share such information with you.
As you see, talking to your professor is not that intimidation. Just be polite, respect his/her privacy, and prepare the questions you want to ask in advance. Good luck!