WRITTEN BY Phoebe Bronstein
My first class as a freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles was the “History of Rock ’n’ Roll”–a 400-person lecture so packed that students were forced to sit in the aisles. Indeed, for the first few years of my college career, most of my classes were equally massive. Professors seemed far away, intimidating, and super busy. I rarely spoke to them. I had no idea what I was missing. Today, I teach writing and media studies to college students. One of the first things I tell incoming freshman students is to go to office hours. “Get to know your professors,” I urge them. “Come to us with questions.”
Office hours are a college student’s secret weapon—and far too few students know how to use them. One-on-one time with professors helps students improve their work and, by extension, their grades. They’re also a necessary way to help students form independent relationships with their professors, something that becomes essential when it’s time to ask for recommendations for internships, scholarships, jobs, and graduate school. Yet many students shy away from solo chats.