Why You Should Go to Professors’ Office Hours!

student raising hand for professor

Happy Tuesday! Today’s post is a bit of rant, but also a good reminder. Over the years I’ve read a lot of college advice posts. One of the top suggestions many people list is the importance of using professors’ office hours. At first, I always wondered, “Why though?” I got decent grades, so the advice to go and talk with them to understand the material fell flat on my ears. I’m also a natural introvert and if I don’t push myself, sometimes it’s easier to never let a conversation begin. I’ve learned a bit from my 3+ years at college. Take my advice before it gets harder!

Go to Office Hours When You’re Struggling in Class

You may feel like you’re doing well enough in the class or earning the grades you want. But does that mean you understand the material? In my time in college, there’s some classes that I “fell forward” in all semester. While I was lucky enough to have the study skills to learn what I put on my tests, some of my grades reflected my test-taking skills rather than my understanding.

Sometimes, study groups can help with learning the material. I’ve had several classes where the professors set up homework groups for that reason. But I’ve also been in several groups where we were all still confused by the material!

Whether you’ve utilized all other resources or this is your first stop, the primary reason professors have office hours is to answer questions about a class! They have that time to help you. If you’re unsure about the material in a class, whether you have good grades or not, go talk to them. I promise it’ll be worth it in the future.

Go to Learn More About Their Lives

As a freshman, I heard whispers that professors are more than just intimidating teachers who hold your future in their hands. Apparently they have lives and journeys of their own! Joking aside, professors are a treasure trove of stories, and one that I’ve appreciated the longer I’ve been in college. I’ve had conversations with professors about so many things. We’ve discussed dietetic internships, compared my school’s present to its past, and traded stories of college adventures.

Some professors may be more chatty than others. Some may have a lot on their desk when you decide to drop in. But if you stop by with thoughtful questions about situations in your life, it may lead to conversations about their experiences. Be open and interested, and ask questions. You might walk away with new knowledge or fun, new insights into your professors.

Go for Questions About the Future

This reason didn’t really hit me until last year when I was thinking about my own future. College is a time of discovering not only what field you enjoy, but also what you like within that field. And whether you’re still figuring out the field or the career, you have the chance to talk to dozens of experts in those different areas, all within a relatively small radius!

I recently took advantage of this with a future decision of my own. Lately, I’ve been struggling to decide whether I want to apply to internships with a master’s degree, or save a master’s for later in my life. Starting in 2024, the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics will require everyone taking the RD exam to have a master’s before taking the exam. Until then it’s optional.

When I thought through all the pros and cons of this decision, I realized I didn’t know what happened to dietitians who didn’t already have a master’s in 2024. The Internet didn’t help much either. So I talked to a professor at my school, and learned that eventually everyone will have to get a master’s. I’m still figuring out my decision, but there’s no way I would’ve known about this factor if I hadn’t visited with a professor.

Hopefully these three reasons are convincing enough for you to go to professors’ office hours. If you’re looking for a challenge for this week, here it is! Good luck.

What’s kept you from office hours before?

Until next time,
Emmalee

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