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Profs share tips to help undergrads succeed

By JAVON HOLLAND / VN SPECIAL WRITER
On March 28, 2017

College can be a great time in a person’s life, but it not’s an easy journey and it can be stressful.

It’s not just projects and quizzes that test your academic skills, but also managing time, using your resources, and juggling a whole lot more to achieve a college degree.

What can be done for you to be successful?

The Varsity News asked advice from some professors on campus.

Matt Mio, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, reminds students that they are still learning.

“I think it’s important to know the things you know and know the things you don’t know,” he said. “You don’t know this yet but you’re in college learning how to learn.”

He wishes that he had appreciated that fact as an undergrad.

“I was making my way through classes, just to grab the grade I wanted to move on, blowing off classes that I thought weren’t important,” he said.

Mio said that after he graduated he realized that learning how to take good notes, how to study, how to organize and how to stay current were necessary.

David Koukal, professor of philosophy, said students should use their time wisely.

“Time management is very important,” Koukal said.

He also recommends students take advantage when professors invite them to submit drafts of their work.

“Professors respond positively to that because it shows your initiative,” he said.

It can also boost grades.

“When students turn in their draft papers, I can see what mistakes they are making and what they need to do to improve their grade,” he noted.

College isn’t just about studies, though.

Students also must get involved in their school community, according to David Chow, an adjunct professor, who advises getting to know fellow students.

“As an alum of the College for Creative Studies, I always try to relate to my students (there) that I’m no different than they are,” he said. “I’ve been through the same rigors. I try to let students know that a part of collegiate experience is more than just being in the studio and classrooms.”

Chow lets them know of the extracurricular events happening on campus.

He encourages students to explore other departments on campus, their resources and how they can apply those to their majors.

Dr. Joe Abisaid, assistant professor of communication studies, believes if students follow their materials they shouldn’t have any major problems.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise if your professor is honest with you,” he said. “He or she will inform you on what’s to be expected. Some professors will give you a study guide to tell you what exactly is going to be on the exam.”

Abisaid is aware that sometimes students assume finals are going to be harder, but it’s probably the same level of difficulty as other assignments.

“The best way to study is following the course, doing the readings and engaging with the lectures,” he said. “Lecture material is not just given to you randomly, meaning the instructor has a reason on why he or she wants you to read it and see if you did or didn’t understand it.

“Overall, do your best and don’t let exams stress you out,” he added. “We are here to help you and want you to succeed.” 

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