Throughout college you are going to have many different professors and you will eventually notice that professors are not exactly the same as your high school teachers. The biggest difference, in my opinion, is that professors do not necessarily guide you like high school teachers do. For example, if you fail a test, professors typically will not write “see me" in red letters at the top of your paper. They will not force you to see them after class or during office hours; it is your choice. If you do not take advantage of office hours, your grade will pay for it. However, office hours are not only about academic help; they provide so much more. Let me explain the 5 benefits of talking to your professor:
I know I just said there is more to office hours than this, but I still have to include this. By going to office hours you can get individualized help on a specific issue, and you can find out directly from the professor what they are looking for on assignments.
By taking the time to talk to your professor one-on-one, you are allowing them to get to know you as a person, and in return you will learn about their background. I have noticed that sometimes professors are not always the same during class as they are after class. I think you would be surprised at the things they would understand or relate to, as well as their personal and professional backgrounds. This could also help you develop a level of comfort, especially with your participation in class.
Also, as someone who was one of the quieter students and often struggled to participate, I found it extremely relieving letting my professors know that that was not a representation of unpreparedness or lack of knowledge. By explaining myself, I found it made it easier to connect with the class.
One of the best things you can receive in return from talking to your professors is getting resources or connections related to your course of study or future career. Especially if it is coming from a professor in your major. Your professors want you to succeed but to bluntly put it, they are not going to hand-feed you. Yes, there are some professors who send out mass announcements of events or opportunities, but if you are seeking more information, you will have to ask. Most likely, you will be thrilled at the type of information you will receive. You never know who knows who.
Another nice benefit you can receive from professors are personal resources. If you are struggling with anything they may be able to provide you with a direct resource, whether that is advice on what to do or places you can go for help. Beyond that, if what you are struggling with is affecting your performance in class, they may provide other ways to help like an extension or something else.
This is also one of the best things you can receive in return from a professor. There will come a time where you will be applying for internships, grad school, jobs, and other things and you will need to provide a letter of reference. It will be more difficult to ask your professors when they do not know you well. You may have done well in their class, but maybe you were on the quieter side. Or maybe you never had the chance during class to really prove yourself, because like professors, students also are sometimes not the same in class as they are after class. Most letters of references want you to choose someone who knows you well-rounded. It will help you a lot to grow your list of options.
Talking to your professors does not have to be intimidating. Even if they do not exactly benefit you in the future, you will still learn something and you will be glad you got to know who they were. Taking advantage of office hours is one of the best things you can do to help your college career and jump start your future career.
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