When it comes to attending your instructor’s office hours, it can be especially daunting when you’re not sure how to approach the material.
Do you know what’s much easier? Skipping office hours! Avoiding your instructor at all costs! Failing the midterm! Dropping the class! Mission accomplished. All jokes aside, you don’t have to navigate university on your own. Office hours allow you to introduce yourself, ask questions, express interest and demonstrate your willingness to put in some time and effort. So, shake off those nervous butterflies, find that office, and get through that first one-on-one interaction. And no matter where you’re at in the semester, it’s never too late to check-in.
Here are a few tips to help you prep for that conversation:
Bring the curriculum or outline. If you have questions about the materials, bring those documents with you so you can better explain yourself.
Prep questions in advance. Now that you know to bring any essential documents, take time to review the materials and reflect on what questions to ask. If you’re really stuck, it’s okay to say “I don’t understand the assignment.”
Take notes. Don’t rely on your memory to help you transition from the appointment to the assignment. Bring a pad and paper, jot down ideas on the outline, and underline important points as you go along.
Share what you know. Figure out what you understand and what you need clarification on, what you need help with when you are there. Ask questions that show you’ve put some thought into the material and are trying to learn.
Connect early, but know it’s never too late to reach out. If you’re struggling with the foundational material, it will only become more challenging as the semester progresses. Conversations with your instructor will give you a sense of what you need to focus on to get back on track. Don’t be afraid to attend office hours multiple times either!
Show that you care. Once an instructor sees that a student is engaged in class, interested in the material, and wants to do well, they are more likely to invest in you. Instructors want to help and want to see you succeed.
Supplement your learning. On-campus services like the Writing Centre, Math Help Centre, and Supplemental Learning can be a great place to construct some pre-office-hour questions – so you feel prepared for the meeting. Book an appointment with Accessibility Services if you’re looking for an accommodation.