Office Hour: Professors Are NOT Dementors!!


Hi! I’m Alina Joharjian, a first-year at Brown from Cranston, Rhode Island. Although I am plenty acquainted with life in Providence since I am a local, I am super excited to delve into the world of academia at Brown and take you on that journey with me! In the Office Hour column, learn more about the brilliant professors of the Brown community.

Hi Potential Brownies,

Not going to lie, going into college, I assumed professors were daunting and untouchable figures. I sort of pictured them like the Dementors from Harry Potter; avoid them at all costs because they are scary and will suck away your soul if you come in contact with them. Just kidding! But in all honesty, I really was afraid to approach professors. However, in my experiences since school has started (I have already gone to see three out of my four professors… Yeah I have a lot of questions!) all of my professors have been super helpful and welcoming. (Side note: One of my professors has board games in his office, which I think is the coolest thing EVER — and very Brown).

Here are some of my experiences with professors. As a whole, I have heard great things about students and professor interaction, so I am certain that my positive experiences are not unique.

  • When I had to wait in line to enter my professor’s office during his office hours, he sent an email minutes after his office hours ended, apologizing to the people who had to wait. I thought this was really nice and totally unexpected!
  • When I met with another professor with questions about the class material, she ended my visit with a fifteen-minute talk, advising me about my freshman year.
  • After questioning a professor about the course syllabus, he later helped me navigate my way out of the maze-like building. (Freshmen, am I right?)

Those are some highlights that pop into my mind. The professors at Brown have treated me terrifically; maybe later this semester I can give you an update on other experiences I have had.

Furthermore, everyone has his or her preferences, so going straight to a professor may not be the best option for you. At Brown, many courses have what are called conferences or section. So, in my math, chemistry, and engineering classes, I meet with a TA to reiterate what I learned in lecture. If you have any problems you can reach out to not only your professor/TA(s). Of course, in my experience, the professors as usually more experienced and are able to better address my question. However, some people might find it easier to approach a TA rather than a professor. Besides that, Brown has many types of department-organized tutoring and such that are also resources that can be utilized.

Regardless of whether you hold the belief that professors are Dementors or not, definitely utilize your professors’ office hours. They are there to help you!

Best of luck,


Any questions or comments? I’d love to respond to you! Reach me at


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