“Go to office hours!”

It’s a phrase I’ve heard more times than I can count, whether it be on college tours during the application process, during my freshman orientation, or even directly from professors in the middle of my classes. After experiencing the magic of office hours firsthand, I must reiterate the advice to any of my dear readers currently attending college. Go! You won’t regret it.

For anyone reading who isn’t familiar with the concept, office hours are timeslots set by professors in which the doors to their offices are open. They are essentially free times where you can talk to professors to seek academic help, or just even generally chat with them depending on how they feel comfortable using the time.

Regardless, they’ve been a huge help to me throughout my time at college. I see college not merely as a place to be qualified for the world of jobs and careers and the like, but as a place to explore life, for self-cultivation and education. In going to office hours, I am able to capitalize on my goals.

I have been very lucky so far in having great professors who offer sound advice and all in all are very welcoming. I’ve gotten plenty of clarifications on work and assignments, which has helped me improve my grades and develop a better understanding in my fields of study.

My professors also tend to be very relaxed in their approach to office hours, which have led to interesting conversations and general things that I feel would never happen outside of college. They include:

Receiving advice for a research project and promptly being gifted Intimate Matters, a book on the history of American sexuality. Hey, can’t argue with a free book!

Going from serious questions on internships and World War II to somehow singing the Chinese national anthem in chorus. It was a glorious experience I never expected and one I don’t think I’ll ever have again.

A discussion with a professor on his large collection of absolutely fabulous unicorn merchandise. He had unicorn pencil cases, knickknacks, and other numerous pieces of memorabilia. My personal favorite was his mug, which read: “I wish I was a unicorn… then I could stab useless people.” One of the best professors I’ve had this year, by far.

Office hours have allowed me to seek educational help and make connections with professors on a level I never was able to get to in high school. They’ve been a great part of the college experience for me. Especially considering the amount of money being spent on my education, office hours are a way for me to really get the most out of it.

So, regardless of circumstance, I would strongly advise going to office hours, whether it be to chat with professors or seek academic help. They’re also a great time to ask about careers, whether it be in asking for letters of recommendation or even about research or internship opportunities. If you end up graduating college in four years having never sung the sweet lyrics of the Chinese national anthem with a career academic, don’t say I didn’t warn you!