The Chamber of Secrets – a.k.a. Your Professor’s Office

CoS

Being able to speak Parseltongue is not a requirement!

As most of you already probably know, I thrive on being in small classes and one-on-one attention from professors is priceless to me. While I am only a freshman, I have already had classes with just three students in them. , including me. Even my “worst case scenarios” involve me being in classes with fifteen or so students, so it never is unbearable for me. However, even with such small classes, a little extra guidance or help with an assignment is almost always needed. Asking a professor in class may not be your forte or asking for help with something after class may not be the most opportune time. After all, LMU is a busy place! Chances are, your professor has something going on after your class or you have something else that is occupying your own time. Using office hours is often the best way to get one-on-one attention from your professors, even though it may feel a little intimidating at first. Entering their offices for the first time may make you feel like you’re Harry Potter first entering the Chamber of Secrets. But instead of finding a basilisk on the other side, you will find, as cliche as it sounds, a ton of resources you may have otherwise not have known about!

When I attended Governor’s School in the summer of 2012 (which you can read about here!), a lot of adjusting had to happen on my part. That was the first time I had ever come across professors. I was fascinated by the fact I called them Dr. “Whatever their last names were” instead of what I called them in my years of education leading up to that point. It was a little intimidating, I’ll admit. These people were serious and I felt like I did not want to waste their time. I soon adjusted to this fact until I found myself wanting a little bit more help in my English class. I wanted to improve my writing, but I had no idea how to ask my professor in such a way that wouldn’t require us to completely stop both of our schedules to formulate an answer. I remembered that both of my professors at UT Martin had given us a list of their office hours and told us to come by if we ever needed anything. I decided to try my English professor’s office hours, so I emailed him, scheduled a specific time for me to come by, and prepared the questions I wanted to ask.

I’ve found that at LMU professors are more than happy to have students drop by during their office hours. After all, that’s what they’re here for! They want to do anything they can to help their students out, and office hours are perhaps the best underused resource that they have available. I’ve even had one professor almost beg for students to come by their office during their hours: “Please come by if you need to. I can only grade in one sitting for so long before my eyes start to bleed. I need social interaction, too!”

One aspect of the Honors Program involves the Honors Contract Courses These allow honors students to take classes under a contract. Under contract means students can take a class that is not labeled as an honors course and get honors credit for it in exchange for more in-depth work that invokes critical thinking. This semester, I am currently taking two Honors Contract Courses in Comparative Religions and French. French is especially hands-on because it is learning a new language in a more intellectually rigorous environment. I am expected to constantly be able to read, write, speak, and listen to French. Little to no English is allowed to be spoken!. The adjusted syllabus for Honors French calls for me to read two books: one on French culture and the famous children’s book Le Petit Prince. I also will focus more on speaking and higher-level grammar. With the extra work I’m doing with French, I’ve had to use the office hours that my French professor has. I practically live in her office some days! With the accelerated grammar that I’m doing, I complete a little more work than my classmates. Because of this, I often go to her office hours with specific questions about the homework, or to just discuss my progress. It’s also good to practice my French speaking and listening. So far, I’ve been in her office at least once a week, if not more. I’ve had to ask her a few times if she started knowing what my footsteps coming down the hall sound like!

To anyone reading this post who is currently in college or may soon be in college, I urge you to take advantage of your professors’ office hours. Whether you are at a huge school or at a smaller one like LMU, getting one-on-one attention from your professors is almost guaranteed to better any problems you may be facing in class, or just give you an opportunity to get to know them better. Don’t worry: you won’t need to battle a large serpent to gain access to their assistance!

As usual, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me!

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2 thoughts on “The Chamber of Secrets – a.k.a. Your Professor’s Office

  1. One thing I love about LMU’s professors is that if they’re in their office (even if it isn’t “office hours”) they are more than willing to talk and answer questions! It’s really important to cultivate these relationships and network as well.

    • I love how open the professors here are to talk with students even if it isn’t during their “scheduled” times. I can’t count how many times I’ve had conversations with professors while walking to or waiting for class.

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