Friday, November 8, 2013

Advice for a College Tyro: Ask For Help


Coming to college, I honestly had no idea what to expect from my professors and TAs. Most of my classes include lectures with 100+ students led by the professor in addition to discussion sections broken into groups of about twenty kids where we go "discuss" the course work with the TA. I was relieved to find out that most of them are truly passionate about what they teach and want to help you. Most times, I think my professors actually sit at their desks during office hours waiting for students to come by. I ask my friends questions about course work constantly, but I definitely spend at least three hours a week going to various office hours. I am often shocked though to hear that most of my peers rarely have never gone.

 I am a firm believer in not pestering TAs and professors over every single question- it is college after all- but I’ve found that I often like going to office hours even just to talk to them. Many of them are often open and interested in talking about college, life, or general shared interests. One day I spent an hour with my professor talking about an assignment for 15 minutes and the other time was spent discussing our shared interest in the Tudors (I really am a Anglophile). One of my TAs will even send crazy Youtube videos to give a little study break when we have tests coming up. It's nice to know your professors and TAs are actual people, but keep in mind there is always a professional line between you. Your TAs may only be like five years older than you and on a first name basis, but they still deserve respect

Obviously, you will not connect with all of your professors or TAs. I’ve figured out which ones I learn and connect the best with and mainly stick to them for help. Even though I am type A, I am not afraid to admit I need help. Bottom line: don't be afraid to ask for help. 
"The strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it."
You never know what positive outcomes can come from it until you try.

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