Take Advantage of Office Hours
We college students usually get the class syllabus the first day of class. Most of us glance through it looking at when the midterms and finals are and what we’ll have to read. Many people, more than you would think, don’t even give a second glance to one very important part of the syllabus: the professor’s or TA’s office hours.
Most of the time, professors and TAs sit through entire office hours without a single student coming by. Students don’t want to come because they either don’t see a point in it or have nothing to say, or even feel intimidated by the professor or TA in a one-on-one setting.
Even if you have nothing to say, you should attend office hours anyway just to say hello to the professor and let them get to know you. Getting to know professors is a great way to get a mentor or a chance to work on special projects with them.
If you are afraid of having nothing to say, you can ask professors about their background as many of them lead very interesting lives. You can tell them what classes you are taking and with which extracurricular activities you are involved. After a while, the conversation flows very easily.
The professors really are not very intimidating at all.
You will find that a lot of them are very friendly.
Bring a friend with you if you feel intimidated. They will be happy that you took the time to go to office hours.
It shows that you’re working harder than others in putting forth the effort to succeed in the class. If you are in a class with 400 other students, it’s also a chance to get individualized help on an assignment.
The TAs are probably graduate students, not that much older than us.
They will understand what you are going through since they went through the same thing just a few years ago.
Other students cite that they have no time or that office hours conflict with a class period. Although college students are extremely busy, I believe that all of us have at least 10 minutes to spare once or twice a quarter to attend office hours.
If the office hours conflict with a class period, one can always e-mail the professor or TA and set up an appointment and, believe it or not, most of them will be very accomodating.
So, next time, attend the office hours of a professor or TA. It might turn out to be better than you expected.
Betty Hwang is a second-year political science major.