Dear Little Sis,
Every academic advising meeting I ever sat through, my advisors always stressed the importance of going to your professor’s office hours. Even my high school teachers talked about the benefit of office hours. I never truly believed them until I saw the difference it made for me. Office hours are important even for the professors we’d prefer not to have at all!
First semester of my freshmen year I had to take Chemistry I. If you know anything about me, you know I HATE chemistry. I’ve never been a fan and I never will be. Before going to college, I had only taken one chemistry class and it was online one summer. My understanding of chemistry was little to none, but my professor didn’t know that. At first, I was frustrated because he didn’t take the time to go over the basic things I never got the chance to learn. Eventually, I learned it wasn’t his job to review the basics, it was mine.
Needless to say, the first exam rolled around and I realized I didn’t know a thing about chapters 1-3. It showed when I got the grade back…a wonderful 60. For being a straight A student in high school, this really hit me hard. I felt like I was a failure and college was going to be impossible for me. One thing was for sure, I knew something needed to change. I couldn’t keep doing it on my own anymore. Once again, I had people who were telling me I should go to office hours. At the time, I felt like it would just be a waste of time. It seemed like my lack of understanding was because of my Professor’s teaching style. I was wrong, and here’s why.
How I improved
When I was in class, I was often scared to speak up about the topics I was confused on. I didn’t want to be judged, or put us behind schedule. In office hours, I wasn’t afraid to ask those questions. It turns out, my professor was actually a really great guy. He was patient and willing to work out example problems in ways that I could understand.
Spending two hours a week in his office also allowed me to get a better understanding for how he teaches. Not only did my exam scores improve, but my understanding of the material did as well. My second exam I received an 84 and the third an 88. Of course these weren’t perfect scores, but you have to recognize the great improvement. I went from knowing nothing to knowing 80% of the material. This just goes to show office hours have the potential to improve your grade by 20%. That’s two letter grades!
I know every situation is different, but no matter what, if you’re struggling, you need to at least give office hours a try. Even if you think there’s no way it could possibly help you, don’t be afraid to give it a chance. College is a new chapter of your life which means you have to make new decisions because you’re faced with new challenges.