How To Make the Most of Office Hours!
During the first month of freshman year, incoming students are bombarded with new faces, routines, and expectations. While this week can be incredibly fun and exciting, it also can be a cause of very understandable anxiety! Personally, one of the most nerve-wracking things I experienced during the first few weeks of freshman year was the prospect of going to office hours.
As I sat in my first days of classes, all of my professors made sure to mention their office hour times and locations -- prompting or even requiring us to make a visit! At the time, I was terrified by the thought of going in alone and having to make conversations with these highly accomplished professors who I barely knew. Yet almost four years later, I have come to love having the opportunity to stop by a teacher’s office and have some one-on-one communication, and I try to embrace this as much as possible!
If you still aren’t sold on office hours, here are some quick tips to make the most of (and enjoy!) your experience.
1. First and foremost, GO!
The biggest tip I have for office hours is simple. Just get there! For weeks, I put it off because I was nervous and not sure what to expect. After I finally went, however, I realized it really wasn’t that bad! Don’t be afraid to just dive in and see how it goes - even if you are nervous, you will likely be very pleasantly surprised!
2. Come with questions
One of the best ways to ensure that office hours go smoothly is to come with a list of questions. Have an idea for the essay coming up? Didn’t understand a section in the reading? Need further clarification on a topic discussed in class? These are all good questions to bring up in office hours! Try to be direct - rather than saying you didn’t understand the entire lecture, is there a particular point you struggled with? Your professors are there to help, so take advantage of this opportunity to ask about what’s been bothering you!
3. Don't be afraid to find out more
While office hours are enormously helping for addressing topics from class, you do not need to limit yourself entirely! Some of my favorite conversations with professors have come about from topics entirely unrelated to the course. Either before or after you ask the more serious questions, make some time to chat! Ask them how their week is going, or how they spent winter break. Professors are people too, and many of them lead incredibly interesting lives. From restaurant recommendations to discussing must-see countries around the world, I have learned a TON from my professors just by asking a bit about their own lives!
4. Say thank you!
Office hours are a great resource for helping students out, but remember - this comes out of the professor’s own personal time! Be sure to show your appreciation before you leave, and say a quick thank you at the very least!
5. Keep going back!
So you went to office hours? Awesome! But you’re not off the hook yet. Don’t think of office hours as one more item to check off the list. Try to go back once or twice more - or even better, make it a habit! Office hours are an awesome opportunity to learn, grow, and develop a connection here on campus - and once you go, I’m sure you won’t regret it.