A slippery slope
Professors are here to help, advise
School is hard. We are in and out of classrooms learning a ton of information for a significant portion of our early years. So, it isn't unlikely that students, at some point in their academic careers, will fail a class.
While we aren't condoning failing a class, we know that it happens. Still, there are definitely ways for students to avoid and prevent it from happening—like asking for help from those around them.
Here at Grand Valley State University, we are lucky to not only have many facilities dedicated to making us successful, but we have hundreds of professors in our corner as well. Professors don't want us to fail. On the contrary, they want to watch us learn and expand our knowledge. They hold office hours, and they stay late after class for any students who have questions.
Oftentimes, when students fail a class, they haven't sufficiently utilized professors as a valuable resource for success. When you're struggling to keep up in a class or understand a key concept, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by stress. In this situation, some students might not do anything at all to fix their situation because they're too overwhelmed or don't want—or know how—to ask for help.
This is exactly when students should be meeting with their professors, though. Although the circumstances might seem dire and the odds of passing a class might be increasingly getting smaller, professors can sometimes still help students pull themselves up from failure by explaining concepts, discussing homework and tests, and maybe even making extra credit opportunities available.
Of course, it's better to avoid falling down a slippery slope of bad grades in the first place, so it's never a bad idea to visit your professor early on and frequently during their office hours, even when things are going well. That way, you can build a relationship with them so they can put a name to your face and recognize you in and outside of the classroom and better understand your strengths and weaknesses to help you succeed from the get-go.
Professors have office hours for a reason, times when their doors are open and students are welcome to drop in with questions or to chat. You can bring essay drafts, homework corrections you want to discuss or questions about tests.
Going to professors' office hours is great way to get to know your professors, too, and establish connections in academia. Professors have generally been through years of school and have deep, specialized knowledge that can be incredibly interesting. In addition, you may need to ask faculty members for recommendation letters down the road, so the better you know each other and the more you show yourself to be a dedicated student, the better.
Most of school is just taking the time to make sure you're being the best you can be. Take advantages of the resources available. It's worth the extra effort, trust us.