I have my first midterm in two days. My biggest question is how did four weeks pass by so quickly?! I blink and a week is over. Anyways, I want to devote this entry to where I found help when I needed it.
I always considered myself a good student in high school, as does everybody else I’ve met here (and for good reason). I used to look over my notes and homework and do just fine on tests and assignments in the past, but I found out that this isn’t enough here. There will come a time at Dartmouth when you also will need help since the classes here try to challenge you to think like you haven’t before.
I reached out for help in math first. The professor mentioned something called a “tutorial” at the beginning of the term, but I shoved that to the back of my mind thinking that I probably wouldn’t need that. After a difficult lecture and an even more difficult homework assignment, I found myself stopping by the room listed for the tutorial on the syllabus. When I opened the door and stepped in, a graduate student came over, introduced herself and asked if I needed any help. What a welcome question after I had spent far too long staring at the problems, looking through the book, and trying different approaches in vain! The rest of the session, I worked on problems until I hit a rut and then asked for help to get individual attention. I fully advocate the use of tutorials for math!
In my other subjects, I’ve talked to my professors at office hours multiple times. They are always happy to help, and they take an interest in you, too. The professor for my writing seminar answered all my questions in 20 minutes, and we proceeded to talk about other interesting subjects for another 40 minutes. I personally thought those types of conversations with professors were a thing of myth before I came here to Dartmouth.
Speaking of my writing seminar class, I recently had a paper due. I had a rough draft of my essay done a couple days before the deadline, but even after editing it a bit, I felt like I wasn’t writing at a “college-level”. Going to RWIT, a free resource that helps students with research and writing, made me more sure of myself and what professors are looking to see in essays.
Then there are my fellow classmates, who are always looking out for each other. In my classes with midterms, I have already formed little study groups, and we’ve been planning study sessions and guiding each other through rough patches in our understanding. I also tutor for a peer-tutoring service run through the Academic Skills Center (another great resource) as well, so you can seek out long-term individual help for your classes as well.
I am not embarrassed to admit that I have had multiple study parties with my friends. Though most people don’t want to think of studying as part of college life, it is something you will have to deal with anywhere you go. At Dartmouth, it is made easier and more enjoyable that you may think. Finding help while preparing for midterms made me realize that we are not alone in our studies.