Freshman year — especially the first semester — is a period of transition. Some transitions are certainly more turbulent than others, but there are ways to adapt and adjust quickly to the new academic demands of college.
Although some high school classes are structured like college courses, the relationship between instructors and students seems to shift when students start their college careers.
College professors often instruct classes of well over fifty students at a time. They lecture and teach the course material, but there simply isn’t enough time to offer plenty of individual attention to students.
This, of course, is a norm for many universities, but to compensate, professors will have office hours or tutoring sessions available for students to ask questions and receive the individual help they need.
However, more often than not, students fail to seek help outside of class. But why?
It may be that students feel daunted by the prospect of speaking with a professor in a one-on-one situation. Perhaps they feel the lectures provide enough instruction for academic success.
Whatever the reason, many students ignore and avoid office hours and tutoring sessions — and all too often, they might struggle in the class because of it. Conversely, students that do seek help reap the rewards, as both productivity and performance typically increase.
Jesse Thomas, a student at UNM, reflected on his first year of college, highlighting the importance of personal communication with professors.
“Something as simple as staying after class to ask your professor a question can make all the difference,” Thomas said. “It certainly helped make my classes easier this year, and if anything, it shows your professor that you legitimately care about and are listening to what they have to say.”
UNM also offers tutoring sessions online or in person through the Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS) held at Zimmerman Library, the Writing & Language Center and elsewhere.
For college freshmen, with that new freedom comes unanticipated responsibility. It is no longer the job of the instructor to assist and build a relationship with students; the role of the student and instructor flip, and students can create their own academic success through their own productivity.
Matthieu Cartron is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers women’s soccer and men’s tennis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @cartron_matt.