The reward felt by helping students and pushing them toward success is the motivation that the tutors at both the Natural Science Center and the Writing Center said they need to come in to work each day.
Lauren Wiggins, a junior English major from Troy and a tutor at the Writing Center, said that besides hanging out with Elaine Bassett, director of the Writing Center, she enjoys helping students with papers. “I realize when I am helping people, I learn a lot,” she said.
Wiggins said that if she finds that she has a weakness similar to that of the student who comes in for tutoring, she usually tries to home in on this because attempting to help the student understand also helps her grasp the material better. On the other hand, “I also try to help people with their strong points and help them learn how to do it well,” she said.
Courtney Wood, a senior biomedical sciences major from Troy and a Natural Science Center tutor, had a similar opinion on tutoring students. “It’s helped me be able to keep practicing my skills,” she said.
Wood said helping with subjects, such as general chemistry, has helped her to stay fresh with the material so that she can do well on graduate school exams.
She also said that exams are usually what brings students into the Natural Science Center.
“Most freshmen won’t come here until they fail a couple tests,” she said. “So I’d much rather them come at the beginning of the semester when they find a problem instead of waiting until they think they are going to fail.”
Tutors at the Writing Center said that they usually see students come into the center because they have trouble with analyzing literature.
“Students feel intimidated by analyzing literature,” said Anna Orlofsky, a senior Spanish and English major from Troy and a Writing Center tutor. “They find it difficult to even summarize a story or to read deeper into the literature than just focusing on the surface.”
Wiggins said that it’s due to the absence of confidence. “It’s a lack of an opinion,” she said. “They have an opinion, even if they don’t realize they have one.”
“We want to instill confidence in the students in the fall (as freshmen),” Bassett said. She said that confidence comes with good analytical skills.
“Good writing reflects good thinking,” she said. “If a student is not confident in their skills, this is a perfect place to come.”
Robert Sheppard, coordinator of the Natural Science Center, said that students need to come in the first time they don’t understand something.
“I think, perhaps, students need to come in each day they have a problem with a subject,” he said. “And math and science, in particular, seem to snowball, so the amount of information you don’t know will only accumulate.”
However, when students make the mistake of waiting too long, Wood said that she has to take them back a few steps. She said the main issue is when students bring in problems but have no idea how to start on them.
While Sheppard understands how difficult it is, as most students’ schedules are erratic, he said that it’s best to keep up with courses on a regular basis so you don’t get behind in class. It starts with instantly seeking help when you have problems.
Hours for the Writing Center are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., and hours for the Natural Science Center are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Both centers are in Eldridge Hall.