Spotlight LLC Student

Tylin's advice to first year students

I want to begin by telling you that you should always remain curious.

When I began undergrad, I went to class and listened to my professors' lectures, and the only thing I cared about after they'd introduce a new topic was, "Whether or not this would be on the test." I wanted to go to school and make good grades. That's not it, though. There's something that lies between attending class and obtaining that A: learning.

See, my definition of learning was stifling through a PowerPoint or pdf, trying to memorize as much of it as I could. That's not the way to do it, though. You guys are at a point in your lives where you are paying to obtain knowledge. You should want to ask questions like, "why does this happen" or "how does this process work"? If these questions become too difficult, then this is where your professor's office hours or open-door policies come in. Please try not to be afraid to approach them because they are here to help you learn. Once you've obtained a deeper understanding of your material, I promise you that you will get excellent grades. If you only show up to class to collect information for a test, that may work for a while, and you may get A's. However, you will eventually come across a topic too complex for you to memorize, especially if you're low on time, which brings me to my next piece of advice: review daily.

Sometimes, it will seem like all of your professors have monthly meetings to plan which week they want to make your life hard and hit you with multiple tests. If you learn something Monday, try not to put it aside until Thursday because that tough week will sneak up on you, and all that seemingly simple material will no longer seem that way after you have three different exams in two days.

Next, after you've sat down and thought about your material by asking yourself questions and obtaining the answers to those questions shortly after you've attended the lecture, it's time to practice. At this point in your study routine, you should utilize flashcards, concept maps, or practice questions to ensure that the information you've taken in becomes embedded within your long-term memory. Try not to try too many things at once, though, and only do what works for you.

Once you've gotten confident with the material, then it becomes time to teach and test others.

A day or two before your exam, you should set aside time to meet up with a study group of three to four of your peers so that you all may discuss any relevant information as it pertains to your test. If you know something better than your friend, then ensure that you fill in their knowledge gaps. Not only does this help them understand the topic better, but it helps you as well because the best way to learn is to teach.

Now, I want to switch gears. College isn't just about learning, studying, and getting good grades. You have to have fun every so often, you have to get involved on campus, and you have to make friends. LLC made all of those things pretty easy for me. Utilize this organization for its intended purposes and excel in school, but also make sure to set aside time to relax with your people because college can get stressful. When you're not doing this, join other clubs and become leaders. This campus will only be as great as you make it. So, if you have high expectations for your college experience, then take control of that and make changes where you see fit. Utilize LLC to build your social network, and be successful inside the classroom as well as outside. College of Science and Mathematics Living Learning Community  truly is a great program that provides the structure that makes following my advice easier.

Now, to summarize my key points: always remain eager to know more about the topics you're studying and ask those questions that will get you a deeper understanding of the information.

If something becomes too difficult, be sure to reach out to your professor because they truly are here to help you rather than to make you sad with their three tests in two days. Utilize your LLC study sessions so that you don't fall behind, and finally help your peers out so that you all succeed.