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Why are professors so willing to chat with students?


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Well, professors are always busy. And since they're always busy, they're often reluctant to reply to emails.

But yet, even though they're always busy, many of them are completely open to chatting with students outside of office hours (just whenever the student chooses to walk in?). Often for 30 minute periods too. Why is that often the case?

I sometimes feel that way too - I'm always busy since there's always something for me to do as well (if I'm "done" with everything, I still have to fill in some gaps that I have, and there will always be gaps in my knowledge). But I'm still open to people who want to talk to me (although I generally ask that they email me rather than IM me).

Edited by InquilineKea
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I guess the simple answer is- professors are human too.

And most regular people like to chat (especially about things they are interested in/knowledgeable about)...even when (or perhaps especially when) they have other things to do. Everyone procrastinates.

There was a time when this surprised me as well- and I suppose it still does a bit. I have one particularly amazing professor that is always willing to take time out of his day to help me out, even though he has about a million things to do (I’m really not sure if or when he has time to sleep and eat). I don’t know how they do it all- seems like a daunting task to balance research, teaching, administrative duties, meetings, students AND a personal life. But, apparently, it IS possible.

Maybe some of them are robots after all...

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I suspect it may also have to do with the fact that it's much easier to brush people off when you don't have to do it face to face (hence it's sometimes difficult to get a hold of faculty via email) or to legitimately forget even if you fully intend to reply (I do this a lot myself), whereas when the person is right in front of you it's both socially and practically easier to have a chat than to rebuff them, especially if you're not doing anything desperately urgent at that exact moment.

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I always assumed that professors like the mental break. I don't think it's necessarily procrastination, either (although I do know at least one professor who will go looking for conversations in order to procrastinate.... haha). Most of the time I go to talk to professors seeking advice, and they all really love giving advice, it seems, so that works out great for us. It did surprise me to see that a lot of professors I know really seem to genuinely care about the students. But when you think about it, they probably get a lot of warm fuzzy feelings seeing their students succeed and thrive (with the help of the professor's input, that is).

I also know a professor who LOOOOOVES gossip, and by golly will he take time to get the dirt on everyone.

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