We’ve been trained since we were little to know that if you talk to your teacher, you’re a teacher’s pet. It’s no doubt that when we moseyed on up through high school that most of us decided to form a non-connecting relationship with most of our teachers.

Granted some of the teachers were too good at teaching or just really amazing to ignore; but for the most part, that’s what we did. Now we’re in college, and we’re still acting like we’re in high school.

Colleges and universities are jam packed with some of the top professors and experts in the world, and they are available to us. Do you even realize how privileged and lucky you are to be in such a location (Los Angeles) that engulfs us with this greatness?

We have the opportunity to meet, talk and know these talented people. Connections are everything in the business world, and if you want to get to that higher place, you need to know the right people and they need to know you. What better way to get to know the “right people” – a.k.a. our professors – than to go to their office hours?

Some students know that, technically, they should go to office hours. They know. So what’s preventing them? Is it the excuses they concoct inside their minds to compensate for not going to office hours (i.e. don’t have time, will next time, too much work, etc.)?

If so, I have to say … WHAT? That is basically saying that you would rather stay at your apartment and watch TV while eating donuts than to be one step away from producing that TV show you have been working on for the past four years. OK, that may be a tiny exaggeration, but then again, maybe not.

One USC sophomore discusses why she doesn’t go to office hours.

“I’m way too scared,” she says. “I went to office hours once this year to discuss my paper, and it helped. But I’m still too scared.”

This is a common reaction, but what students need to understand is that professors are very willing to help, and most love the opportunities to get to know their students.

Dr. Stacy Smith, Associate Professor at USC Annenberg School for Communication, brings up an interesting comparison: “When it comes to professors, students have this monster vs. machine perception. Is the professor a monster or a machine? I think it’s important that this perception gets dispelled early.”

With Smith, she makes the perception evaporate to a mere nothing. Outside her office during office hours, the hallway is always at least five people deep. Inside her office, she has stacks of letters of recommendation she’s writing for students she actually knows – because they came to office hours.

“In-class conversations just don’t do it, I want to be able to show the student’s personality [when writing a letter of recommendation],” she says. “It’s in the student’s best interest to go to office hours.”

Although Smith realizes that going to office hours can be an intimidating process, she loves that she’s a part of helping her students figure out their life processes – to be a part of something that can shape a student.

“How exciting!” she exclaims.

So, put down the donuts, get off the couch and go to your professors’ office hours. Even if you’re scared, busy, whatever it may be, these opportunities are just waiting for you to grab them by the horns and take control.

Professors, like Smith, understand how scary it may be and will make it as painless as possible. You’re future is right in front of you, starting with office hours!