Office Hours. Those two words are repeated over and over as a student. From my parents telling me to go to them, professors reminding about their office hours, and even friends talking about questions they would ask, I hear about office hours on a daily basis. But in all my time here I have yet to attend a professor’s office hours. I have always been scared about going because I usually can get my questions asked in class, so I never had any questions I could ask and I didn’t want to go and be awkward without any questions. But this all changed when last week I mustered the courage to go to my professor’s office hours.
It was all because of a paper due this week. I had thought long and hard about what to write my paper about, but I could not find a topic that I could really explore in depth. So I looked to my syllabus for my professor’s office hours, and nervously shuffled my feet to his office. I got lost in Dwinelle twice and contemplated just giving up, but I told myself I had already come this far, I could not give up. Finally, I found his office and gave a small knock on the door.
When the door opened, Professor Welsh beamed up at me and said, “Hello Colin, how are you?” For a professor to know my name, even when I had never talked to him outside of class, gave me an immediate sense of relief. I was no longer scared to talk to him, and was able to ask about my paper. It turns out my ideas were actually perfect, and we came up with some examples I could use to support these ideas.
Having answered my questions, Professor Walsh then turned his attention on getting to know me better. I told him that I was from San Diego, and he responds that he used to teach at UCSD. He even lived about 10 minutes from me! We chatted about our favorite Mexican restaurants and places to watch the sunset for about 15 minutes before I had to go to class. I left feeling happy, not only because I had my questions answered but because I had personally connected with a professor, something I had never really thought would happen before.
The moral of this story is cliché but still holds true: going to office hours is worth it. I was scared to go before because I didn’t want to awkwardly say that I was here to say hi and didn’t have any questions. But after going to Professor Walsh’s office hours and seeing that office hours are more than just a time to ask questions, I will without hesitation go to more office hours. While professors seem scary and greater than life, especially considering how esteemed they are, in reality they truly care about students, something I found out this last week!