5 Office Hours Tips for Dummies

Although I don’t go to office hours as often as I want to because of my jam-packed daily schedule, I enjoy speaking with the GSIs, professors, or just the other students who are there with me when I can. If you don’t know how to take full advantage of office hours while you’re there or want to know how my friends and I rock office hours, here are some tips if you are:

  1. Too polite/afraid to ask questions:
    Just present the concept you don’t understand in a way so terribly and utterly inaccurate that the instructor can’t help but correct all the things you said wrong – thus teaching you without him/her realizing it.
    Example:
    “So from what I understand in taking the average, or mean, of this array of numbers, I just add them all up and then subtract them all from each other, then multiply them by the professor’s age of 45 and divide by 0, correct?”

  2. Still confused after telling the instructor “thanks, I get it now!”:
    Get a friend to ask the instructor again, or quick-grab a random classmate and whisper-ask the person if she gets the concept. If the stranger does, perfect! Get the genius to re-explain it to you. If this person doesn’t get it either, still perfect! Get her to ask and hopefully understand the concept so that you can eavesdrop or have her explain to you afterward. (It’s also a great strategy to get someone’s number/contact info if you’re still single/just want a friend, but read this blog here)
    Example:
    “*whispers* Hey hi hello I’m Mel, what’s your name?”
    “Kirsten”
    “Hi Kirsten do you know how mitochondria work?”
    “Oh you don’t? Ohmygosh me neither, do you want to ask the professor? I need to leave in a bit but hey let’s keep in touch so we can form a study group or something later!”
  3. In a hurry and need to leave in 5 minutes but one person is taking too long:
    (Respectfully) butt in by leaning your head as much like a giraffe as possible toward the material being taught, then nodding along and pretending to understand. Find one word you do get, such as “the,” and guide the conversation toward your main question.
    Example:
    “Oh Professor! Speaking of ‘the’, remember that concept on Pavlov’s dogs that you were talking about? Didn’t he develop something that led to ‘the’ idea of air conditioning?”

    FullSizeRender 2
    Visited LinkedIn’s office recently!
  4. Just wanting the answer to a question because it’s due in an hour but you forgot, can’t figure it out, and you’re desperate
    While listening to see if anyone else has the same question at office hours, text all your friends in the same class to ask for help – but individually, not in a group chat because you’re just going to be left on seen. If you still can’t eavesdrop on somebody who has the same question and no one has answered you but you’re running low on time, just ask somebody who’s either leaving office hours or calmly working on the side alone because chances are that he’s done with everything that you’re not.
    Example:
    *texts everybody profusely*
    “Hey dude! Did you do #4 on the homework yet?” ✓ Seen 11:11am
    (make a wish for him to reply)

  5. Still not clear on 50 concepts but the midterm is tomorrow
    Good luck – I can’t help you here, office hours is going to be swarming with people just like you, and only Facebook good-grades-pupper posts may help you now. May you rest in peace.
    Example:
    😵

All these tips can be combined with each other, used vanilla-style, flipped, twisted, or however you’d like to use it to your own advantage, but hope they help during office hours!

-Melanie

(Also thanks Kirsten for inspiring this blog! 😍)

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