Office Hours…Who Needs ‘Em?

17 Apr

I rarely hear any of my fellow Wildcat friends talk about visiting their professors. It’s hard enough to get them to go to meet with their advisor. And if you are anything like me, its rare that you hit up your professors or TA’s office hours without a really good reason to do so as well. However, as much as we may avoid it, office hours have the potential to be very effective. Plus, you aren’t going for anyone else’s sake but your own. So why not take one for the team and get the help you need.

Tip #1

Know who to take your questions to.

Scope out the TA’s who look lazy or just bored with being a TA and AVOID them! For example, the TA who sits in the back of the class and scrolls through their TwitterFeed while the professor lectures, don’t go to that person. They probably wouldn’t be able to answer ANY question.

Try to find the most enthusiastic TA. You know the one that takes the time to answer leftover questions at the end of class, GO to them. Find out if they would have time in their office hours to take some of your questions. If they do, then go for it. If they don’t, you can always ask them if you can speak to them via email or appointment.

If that doesn’t work, or if your question requires expert knowledge,then your best bet is to head straight to the professor. The office hours of the professor should be posted in several places:

Syllabus

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D2L or Blackboard

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or

Department Website

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Tip #2

Dress code.

Once you’ve found the best person to speak to and the best times that work for you, head on over to office hours. But when you get to this point, pay attention to what you wear. I know that the UA is a place where the weather is nice and everybody is chill and laid back BUT I wouldn’t recommend showing up to office hours wearing something like this:

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 11.23.01 AMScreen shot 2014-04-11 at 11.22.05 AM

I’m not telling you to hide who you are or what you believe in but you want to make sure that you leave a good impression. Plus, how awkward would it be if, instead of answering your question about partial derivatives, your professor asks you to explain what twerking is, or what species of flora is printed on your shirt. And unless you are into having awkward conversations with older people, its not worth it. Wear something neutral that day. Something that says, “hey, I’m young and having fun, but I have a serious question to ask”. No need for business casual outfits, just stay away from distracting clothing items like the ones above.

Tip #3

Don’t force a conversation.

Sometimes you need to get in and get out. You aren’t required to pretend like you care about anything else but getting help with your class. If you would like to spark a conversation with your TA or professor about their love of dogs, food, or movies, then by all means go for it. But if you really only care to talk about the matters of your course, then stick with what you are there for. I’ve had plenty of meetings with professors where I have wanted to ask questions about pictures on their walls, their background education and where they came from. However, often times I don’t have the spare time to converse freely about it with them. Instead of starting a conversation and having to cut it short because I have to leave, I just save it for another time. I mean, there are times that you want to go in for office hours for the purpose of socializing and networking with UA faculty. In those cases, keep in mind that there may be students waiting to talk to that professor/TA as well.

That’s it for my tips on office hours. I hope you Wildcats make sure to ask questions, keep studying, and continue to Bear Down!

-Ciara

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