To Go To Office Hours…Or Not To Go To Office Hours…

That is the question that many students debate within themselves. “My office hours are between 10:00am and 12:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, please stop by if you need any help with this class,” your professor says, and he or she will say that…many times and it will make you feel a whole mixture of feelings like guilt, insecurity and dread. Of course you have no idea what you’re doing, but then you start to think about the one-on-one time with your professor who knows virtually everything there is to know about this particular class subject… What if you say something wrong? What if you ask a dumb question? What if he asks you a question about the readings you definitely didn’t read?
There are several concerns that every student has, most of the time causing them to, instead, ask a fellow classmate to help them with their issue.
Although that may seem like the easiest option, you should know that there are actually a couple benefits to going to office hours for help on what you are working on or just simply get a little more information on a particular subject.

Guaranteed Answers Direct from the Source

First of all, you are guaranteed the correct information from your professor. While your friend may give you an answer sheet her friend of a friend was able to get from her roommate who took the class two years ago…that might not be accurate anymore (if it ever was). Your professor will be able to give you the answers as well as the explanation, giving you a much better understanding of the subject. And it’s like your own personal class time, doesn’t that make you feel special?

Exam Clues

Sometimes your professor might even give you tips or inside information on what it is they want on the test if you go in to inquire about an exam. “Can you tell me some more on such and such?” you ask. “Well don’t worry about such and such, Little Jimmy, but you do need to know about blah blah blah,” they might reply. Or, “how would I talk about this on the exam?” you ask. “Be sure to talk about this and this and this when you answer this,” they might reply. It will make your readiness for your test far above the rest, giving you that edge when it comes time to take it. It’s not cheating; it’s using your resources.

Establish a Personal Relationship

Another great thing that comes with going to office hours is being able to establish a personal connection with your professor. In larger classes, the professor might not ever meet you or know anything about you. You are just a number to them, another blank face in the crowd. But when you go in to speak with them for help, they will know that you are wanting to do well in the class and that might make him or her a little more lenient when it comes to grading. “Little Jimmy is a little vague on this answer here on the test, but I know that he knew about this topic when he came into my office hours…A-.”

You really shouldn’t be nervous when it comes to attending office hours. Professors love being able to talk about their subject to interested students, they don’t want to make you feel dumb or uncomfortable. And I mean, you know they are there for a few hours every week, don’t make that a waste of time for them when you could get a step up in your class.

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Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She lacks the ability to draw, so she loves being able to express her creativity instead through her writing. She considers herself the “coolest nerd,” spending many Friday nights indoors playing Guitar Hero and discussing Pokemon cards with her friends.