I have a confession to make. I am in my fourth year at U of T, and the first time I went to a professor’s office hours was this past October. Phew, it feels good to get that off my chest.
To be even more transparent with this, the only reason I went to his office hours in the first place was because he requested all students go before their in-class presentations. If I hadn’t had that obligation to go, I genuinely do not think that I would be writing this today.
In an effort to help you avoid my fate, here are the two main reasons why you should (actually) go to your professor’s office hours:
1. They want to help you. I believe the biggest reason people avoid office hours is the intimidation factor. Office hours scared me immensely. I always thought of it as going into a small room with a brilliant academic and surrendering myself to (what I thought were) stupid questions that were far beneath them. I was always scared of asking something silly, making myself look bad or making them think I was not good enough for their time. Dramatic, I know, but I am also certain I am not the only one to feel that way. If you are like me, know the whole reason professors have office hours is they want you to succeed, and they want to be available for you. It is easy to be intimidated by their credentials, but remember they also started somewhere. Imagine yourself as a professor, and try to understand how rewarding it must be to have someone succeed at your hand.
2. They actually do help you. Now that you’re (hopefully) over the intimidation factor and know that your profs want to help you, realize they actually do help. In my opinion, the second biggest reason people avoid their professors’ office hours is because they feel going will not make a big enough difference. I used to think this way too…until I started going to them. Over the past few months, when I have visited my professors, my marks have increased! I have gone to them with essay drafts and ideas and have left with my ideas challenged and expanded, and with growing confidence and direction in my work. Your professors know the material better than anyone, so they are singlehandedly the best sounding board for your ideas or concerns.
If you have yet to visit your professors at their office hours, I hope this gives you the push you needed to do so. I really wish I would have had someone write this post for me a few years ago so I would have learned this before my last year!
If you have not gone before, has this post motivated you to? If you have, what advantages you have noticed? Let us know on our Facebook page!