I have always thought that the reasons why I never went to my professor’s office hours were because I didn’t have any specific questions for them. I always thought it was for those who may want to go more in-depth with their education.
I was always told that office hours was very helpful. They’ve been pushing and drilling this fact into me ever since I walked through the doors of this school 3 years ago. They always said that it was a great way to get to know your professors, to understand them on a personal level and they can understand you.
So I tried.
I went to office hours last year for organic chemistry and I attended my first office hours this year for genetics.
Both times were a mess, and they were not enjoyable experiences. I can’t even remember if I had gotten my question answered.
Today was probably the worst one that I had ever attended. I thought that I would like toe professor. That’s why I even went in the first place. Great lecturer. He seemed nice when I last talked to him. And then… I guess his true colors showed today.
I come into his office hours to see 3 people already in there. They seemed to have questions over the last year’s exam. I obviously didn’t have questions over that because I was still trying to figure out what was going on in that class.
So that’s when I knew this wasn’t going to be a very good office hours. I was tempted to just turn around and not come back, but I stayed.
So After a while of the people who were already in the room asking their questions, the professor turned to me and asked if I had any questions. Well.. I told him my question wasn’t very specific, but I just wanted to ask him how I should approach the exam questions. That’s the question that most professors say I should start with when going to their office hours. I wasn’t very good at asking questions, so I decided that I should start there.
Instead, I get a sarcastic response of, “Well, first of all I would say to get some sleep.”
Obviously I know that health and sleep is a great thing to have before any test, but I did not come to your office hours to ask about my health. I came to ask for advice on strategies. Of course I laughed, thinking that he was funny, and I thought he would proceed to seriously answer my question.
Instead, he just stares at me and asks me what exactly my question was. I repeated it again, and hoped that he would get what I was asking. He just gave me a generic answer, saying that I should do more practice problems in the textbook. That was about it.
The girl next to him, who was a student, also said that I should be doing more in the books and that many of them were straight from the book. So of course they were tag-teaming on telling me the same thing.First off, I came to talk to the professor not another student. If I wanted to do that, I could have went to a student advisor instead of dropping my nervousness and going to see a professor.
This was exactly what I was fearing. I never wanted to go to office hours because I felt dumb while going there. People actually went there for some professional questions. That’s why I never went to OH; I felt like my questions were never good enough. I just went there for advice, but maybe it wasn’t a good idea.
At that point, I just felt really bad for coming to this thing. I didn’t even want to come in the first place. He told me to come and see him, but I didn’t really know why I should because it was my problem, I obviously had to figure out where I went wrong. But I decided to go anyways, thinking that maybe he would help me out.
Nope, that is not what happened.
And then, the other girl sitting next to me leaned over and told me that she had the same question for him. So when it came her turn, she asked the same question and she got the most intricate answer I had heard for this professor. He told her how to approach it and how to look at the problems. What was the best way to take the test, etc…
I wanted to really listen to everything he was saying, but I was so hurt at this point that I had tears in my eyes. I didn’t want to cry in front of this professor, it would’ve been super embarrassing. But I am sure that he saw eyes super watery and super teary-eyed. He was giving me a weird look because he wasn’t sure what was going on with me. I just wanted to get out of there.
He asked for my name afterwards, so we basically knew each other. That was a start.
So me and this other girl were leaving and I told her that I needed to learn how to ask questions like her (even though I felt like I asked the question the same way that she did). And she said that she didn’t do well on the last test either, so I felt a little better that someone else was also going through the same thing as me.
But I just felt really bad about everything, so I walked over to the next building, locked myself up in a stall of the bathroom, and I just cried for a good 10-15 minutes. It was a really deep, heavy-heaving bawl session. Tears were falling onto the floor of the bathroom and I didn’t even try and wipe them away. I just let them fall.
I felt like a failure, like I had tried my hardest to step out of my comfort zone and ask for help, and I still ended up tripping and falling on my face. I felt so bad because as a Junior, it was expected that you knew at least a little bit about how to navigate these things. This is stuff I should have learned when I was a freshman. Why am I still struggling?
This brought me back to the time when I had gotten my grade back from my Molecular and Cell class freshman year. I remember getting that grade back, leaving the lounge that I was sitting in with friends, went back to my room, closed the door, turned off the lights, went under my sheets, and cried. At the time, If felt like I had studied like crazy for everything, and I was failing so badly. I thought about transferring or changing majors, but nothing actually happened.
And here I am, still a junior struggling in the same major that I thought I would love.
It’s been a huge rollercoaster with this bio major. I feel like I enjoy learning the material, but it is just not clicking in my head. I fail when it comes to tests, which means that I really do not know the material. And it’s crazy because I got all A’s over the summer while doing SMDEP, and it was over the same material, but for whatever reason, I was failing when it came to doing the same thing at this school.
What’s the difference?
Anyways, after a while, I wiped my tears, splashed some cold water on my face, and went about my day. It was a nice day outside, so I sat outside for a little bit under an umbrella. I called my mom because I need to get some financial aid stuff figured out. I guess my reasoning was that I could distract myself from one problem while working on another problem. And it kind of worked. I ended up going to the financial aid office, talking with them, and figuring some stuff out. It made me feel good because I knew I was doing something. Even though I was still trying to figure out another problem, I felt like I was accomplishing something else in the meantime.