Have you tried your school’s tutoring services yet? What about the writing center? If you haven’t yet explored these resources, now’s the time!
A lot of people say that college is as hard as you make it. And for the most part, they’re right. You can take easy classes or challenge yourself, you can do almost nothing or get involved in extracurriculars, and you get involved with volunteer work or choose to pursue an on- or off-campus job.
However, if you’re reading this, our bet is that you’re excited to experience new things, broaden your horizons and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities and learning experiences that you’ll have in college and nowhere else. And we’d imagine that you want to be successful when you do.
So, how do you walk the line between taking on a challenge and completely failing one?
Allow me to introduce you to all the amazing resources your college provides (and you probably read about in the orientation brochure but have since completely ignored). There’s definitely a lot of them out there for the taking, so let’s break down the biggest and baddest:
Regardless of the subject or the task, chances are you’ll have access to a tutor. How you get tutoring will depend on your college, and the course — it could be from a class TA, from a departmental tutor or from a tutor offered by the university. This help might be by group or individual, but no matter what, it’s worth checking out. Especially if you’re struggling, working with a tutor will likely improve your test scores or your essays. WIN. Plus, if you really know the material and feel confident, you might enjoy the class much more. DOUBLE WIN.
Whether you’re unclear about the acetylcholine pathways or looking for the perfect thesis on Alexander the Great, going to talk to professors will be helpful. It is their job to make the material as clear as possible and support students, both in class and for a couple of hours every week when they sit in their offices. Go visit them! They’ll appreciate your interest, be happy to talk about a subject they love, and even if your Alexander the Great paper isn’t perfect, they may give you extra brownie points for engagement and enthusiasm.
Subject librarians are often relatively ignored on college campuses, but they can be really informative if you take the chance to meet with them. If you’ve got a paper or project — whether it’s on Moby Dick or if it’s on American literature from 1850-1950 — subject librarians might have ideas for focusing your thesis argument. They also could be especially helpful because they could know related books, articles and even movies that could be useful. If you’ve got questions on something, librarians can often be much more helpful than trying to get by on Wikipedia.
For anything written — whether it’s 20-page papers, blog posts, case study analyses or applications for summer internships — if you’re confused about how to best express yourself with words, the writing center can help. You might have to make an appointment in advance, but whether you’re still formulating ideas, or you’re on your final draft, you’ll find someone who will help get your thoughts organized, clarified and ready for your professor’s perusal.
These resources, while often ignored, are there for you. Not only will they help you succeed but — well, you paid for them with your tuition so you might as well take advantage while you can!
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