10/19 (53%) students in my thermochemistry
class attended Dr. French's office hour on Wednesday this past week. That's a pretty exceptional number of students, given that the professor has three days with office hours during the week. It wasn't so much of an office
hour, as we had to move down the hall to the conference room. And this isn't the first time this has happened this quarter. This was just a single office hour out of three for the week. I bet by the end of the week every single student will have attended one of Dr. French's office hours.
I didn't start taking advantage of my professor’s office hours until my sophomore year in organic chemistry. During first quarter organic I realized that I needed direction in how to study for the course and Dr. Karver had a few office hours that I was able to attend. It was a slow process through my sophomore to junior years to realize just how useful and unique office hours are. It's the chance to, often times, sit down one on one with the professor to get help with the class. Some of the times I walk in with a specific question, other times I just want to check in with the professor. Either way, it's unique because how much face time is available with professors.
Given that professors have, on average, three office hours per week, there's not been a quarter at DePaul that I haven't been able to make it to a professor's hours. This year I started to take better advantage of the extra time that professors at DePaul provide, and I put the office hours that I could attend in to my weekly calendar. It's become part of my schedule, almost as if it was another class. I know which days of the week I will be attending office hours, and it's benefited my learning experience greatly.
Last quarter in quantum chemistry I visited Dr. Southern at least once a week (in addition to the 4 hours of lecture and 8 hours of lab that I saw her in the week). Sophomore year I visit Dr. Cohn in cell biology once in a while, but I was still learning just how valuable office hours are.
There are two major things about the turnout at office hours this past week. First, it signifies the fact that senior students are often more comfortable approaching a professor for help. If I have any advice for you, whether you're soon to enter college or already in college, take the step to drop by a professor's office. You likely won't regret it. In fact, when I did this for the first time sophomore year to my organic chemistry professor, Dr. Karver, I ended up getting a spot in her research lab a few weeks later.
More important, it signifies how the science program at DePaul is unique. Even in classes with 60-80 students there is time to meet with the professor one on one in their office hours. In my experience at DePaul, I've found science professors to be easily accessible outside of class and it has made my experience in class with them better. It's clear that the professors care about our progress in their class, but also about our development as students and future contributors.