With the fall semester beginning some students are just starting their college journeys. While it can be a little intimidating, sophomore Halie Lard offered a word of advice to incoming first-year students. “Don’t stress out too much. It’s really not that intimidating, college is just more schooling. It’s not as scary as you would think it is,” Lard said. Below is a brief list to help make the start a little less intimidating.
Don’t be afraid to speak with your professors
Professors have a big workload, with many teaching multiple classes back-to-back. TJC requires all professors to have appointed office hours where they must be in their office. Those office hours may be listed in the syllabus or posted on their office door.
Professor of philosophy and humanities Jay Jerkins said, “a lot of the time we come to college with this high school thinking, ‘Well, if I go to the teacher after hours, I’m in trouble.’ Actually, we’re all in our office hours waiting on students to come to answer the questions. It’s a great opportunity to have one-on-one time and to get any additional questions answered.”
Professors are there to teach their students and want to see them succeed and want to see you succeed. Those who are unable to visit during office hours may also try sending an email asking for more resources and help on their class topics.
Go to class
The University of Southern Maine posted an article discussing the importance of attendance. In the article titled “Attending class with a purpose,” they said, “during class lectures and discussions, your brain will find connections to the assigned reading, previous class meetings, and your own life experiences. These connections serve as the foundation of learning!” College can be a wonderful experience with the chance to make lifelong memories. Attending class offers more opportunities to learn and see things from other’s point of view. In addition, some professors also count attendance as a grade. Sophomore Elizabeth Lozano said, “a lot of your professors do go based off your attendance for part of your grade. So, it is very important, especially with some of these classes. If you miss one day, it literally will set you back very bad.”
Be prepared before class starts
Being prepared is important. Most professors will include needed supplies in the class syllabus, which can be found on Canvas or the TJC website. “If it is not listed or you are unsure whether you’ll need a specific item, it is still important that you at least have pens, pencils and a notebook walking in on the first day,” Jerkins said. “Pay very close attention to the syllabus. In particular how they grade assignments.” Each professor will grade assignments differently, and while one professor might make daily discussions a major part of your grade another might make it 5%. Knowing what your professor expects from you is a big part of college.
Figure out how to manage your time wisely
Discovering if you are a night owl or an early bird is important in college. College is about becoming more independent and figuring out what works for you. Some students find time management to be imperative to academic success. “Like my first few years, it just kind of caused me to like, not having that time management kind of suffered in some of my classes,” Lozano said. “So definitely, it’s very important.” An article titled, “Time management skills that improve student learning,” by Australian Christian college highlighted the benefits of time management skills. “Effective time management allows students to complete more in less time.”
Join a club
Looking at the clubs on campus is a wonderful way to get out there and get involved in campus life, meet new people, and discover something new about yourself. Making friends in college is important, it can help ease your transition into college and build future connections. TJC has several clubs on campus to help attract an array of different students such as, The DrumBeat, Black Student Association, Las Mascaras and the Green Committee. All organizations are listed on Orgsync and can be accessed 24/7. You can also head to the student life office found on the second floor of Rogers Student Center for more information on how to get involved in the student community.
Know what resources you have
TJC has several resources available to students, such as free tutoring available 7 days a week, an extensive library, academic advisers, counseling and scheduled office hours for professors. TJC also has several disability services available. “Disability Services provides accommodations for qualified students with documented disabilities. Disabilities may include physical, mental health, learning, deafness or hard of hearing, blindness or visual impairment, autism,” according to the TJC website. Some students maybe be intimidated by starting college due to the fear of not being able to access certain things. TJC offers many services to students to help ease that worry. In addition to the services listed above, TJC also has a food pantry to help students. The food pantry is open on Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and it is found at the corner of Lake and Baxter. It supplies comfort, security and resources to all students on an as-needed basis, no appointment or preorder is necessary. The TJC website lists all resources available.
Get to know the campus
TJC has 3D and 2D maps available online and around campus. Campus tours are resourceful and a quick way to learn where your classes are, so you aren’t lost walking around on your first day. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most returning students were in your position before and know how it feels to be lost on campus. Stopping to ask for help is a good way to get familiar with one’s surroundings. Hannah Fauss, the welcome center coordinator, added, “tours are important for two different reasons. You have the prospective students who come on the tours who are still looking to see which college is the right fit for them. And that is kind of a goal that we are focusing on for the prospective students to come and observe the campus. Then you also have your students who want to get to know the campus a little bit better in another but fun way.” To schedule a tour, go to TJC.edu/visit and click on daily tours. There you can select a time and date that works for you.
Have reliable equipment or figure out alternatives
Having reliable equipment, like a laptop or car, makes life much easier. But for those who do not have access to reliable resources, there are alternatives. TJC offers a free bus pass, in place of a parking sticker to make transportation to and from campus easier and less stressful. You can find a map of the bus routes on the City of Tyler website as well as the TJC website. All you need to ride the bus through TJC is an updated student ID. The library also offers computers free to use during all open hours. The library is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays.
Know the campus police
The campus police are there for your safety and offer many services besides those commonly known, such as ensuring the safety around campus and making sure people are parked in proper and safe places. Services include safe walks to your vehicle, dorm, or class, vehicle boost in case your car doesn’t start and vehicle unlocks in case you forget your keys in your car, according to the TJC website.
Stay in contact with advisers
“We care about the students and how well you do and your worries and your concerns and your happiness,” said Manager of Academic Advising Keren Longshore. It is important to visit academic advisers regularly to stay on track. Falling behind can result in you taking extra classes, missing classes one semester and having to wait until the following year to take the class, or even having to push back graduation a semester. Longshore also included, “if you want to make sure that you’re doing the best thing for your career here at TJC, as well as your career, and educational aspirations beyond TJC. Stay in touch with us, we’ll make sure that we keep you on the right track.” Advising offices are found on the second floor of Rogers Student Center to the right of the stairs.