On Utilizing Professor Office Hours

Professor office hours are truly an enigma – everyone wants their teacher to help them, but no one wants to speak to them face to face.

For some reason many of our peers are intimidated by their professors, a shame really, as every professor wants nothing more than for you to visit them in their office. I’ve spoken to enough educators to know that this is fact. However, I am not without hypocrisy. I too used to avoid my professors.

But, early on in my college career, I learned that office hours are not only an opportunity to learn about your course, but a chance for you and your professor to learn about each other. College is all about building relationships and making connections.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that you can do this with your teachers too. Developing these friendships has lead to many great experiences, and they can for you too, all it takes is a trip to your professor’s office. So, learn about all the benefits of swinging by your professors office – it’s worth it.

Student Panels and Teaching Conferences Opportunities

As a communication minor, it should have occurred to me earlier that I could befriend my teacher.

But, it wasn’t until a professor invited me to coffee that I finally woke up. Adam Barragato is a professor that has had my back from the beginning. My freshmen year I enjoyed coffee with him once a week where we’d talk about what was going on our lives, and he’d offer advice about academics.

The following summer, he invited me to speak on the student panel for the New Faculty Orientation. It was an awesome opportunity that allowed me to hone in on my public speaking skills, as well as change the ways professors teach their classes.

During my sophomore year he introduced me to other like-minded students that wanted to make a difference on campus. This group dubbed, “The Avengers,” worked with the Faculty Center for Innovative Teaching to speak in focus groups and student panels alike. The best part was speaking with Barragato at the Great Lakes Teaching and Learning Conference. Educators from all across Michigan came to this event and valued the input my colleagues and I gave.

Public speaking and interacting with these professors face to face really made me feel like I was making a difference, and owe all of these experiences from visiting Barragato during his office hours one day.

Developed Friendships and Involvement in Student Groups

I never would have guessed that I’d have my future professor in the audience of the New Faculty Orientation. As I sat in Gender Communication, Alyssa Lucas talked about a student that inspired her to change up how she set up blackboard.

That student was me, and I had to continue to build on that good first impression for the rest of my college career. I had attended her office hours throughout the first semester where we would talk a little about the course material but mostly about AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” and other popular culture.

Later on, Lucas and some other students pushed me to join the Communication Association, where I later became the Public Relations Chair. Through CA, I was able to go to various conferences, set up events and expand my public relations repertoire. Lucas went on to help with my resume, as well as become a valuable reference moving forward.

Helping You with Your Future Direction

While these friendships are all great, these professors also helped push me to think about life and what I want to do with it.

Recently Will Anderson, a broadcast and cinematic arts professor, challenged me to think critically about what I’ll do next after I graduate. And,while I may not know exactly what I want to do far into the future, he offered me insight on the strengths I bring to the table.

Thank You, CMU Educators

Throughout my years at this prestigious university, Central Michigan’s educators have empowered me to do my best in and out of the classroom. There is opportunity for you as well, and getting to know your professor might be a valuable step in getting you there.