Friday, April 6, 2012

Visiting a Professor During Office Hours

Office hours represent an amazing opportunity to get to know your professors, and to get one-on-one help from the person who creates the tests.  Don’t screw this up by wasting their time by asking things that are clearly spelled out in the book.  When you arrive with relevant, challenging questions you send the message that you are for real.  

Professors hold a lot of power, and you will need a couple of them in your corner.  They make great references for jobs and graduate school.  They often have an inside line on research positions, internships, as well as jobs.  Many adjunct professors run businesses and the class is their sideline gig.  What this means is that they often troll their classes for hard working, brilliant employees who won’t cost them that much money.  

A final note about study groups is that while you are socializing to some extent it isn’t the sole purpose of the group.  Many groups get carried away and do nothing but socialize.  Don’t let socialization get carried away by respectfully redirecting the group back to work.  There is a balance that you need to be aware of and groups do need a certain amount of socialization in order to work effectively.  Practice getting the work done before you kick back and chat.  Not all study is quality study time, so if you are getting nowhere, be willing to call it a day.   There are many college tasks such as writing or reading that you cannot do in groups, so if there is no reason to meet then don’t. 

Some classes are easy and don’t require much study, so there is no need for a study group.  Use your best sense and after awhile you will know when they are needed.  You may occasionally get one of those “show up and argue” classes, and for these classes, you need to read the material and be ready to share your point of view.   Not much study beyond reading and preparing statements are needed, so put the time into your more difficult classes.