The Daily Illini

Academic resources help students succeed

College classes can be hard and students shouldn't be afraid to reach out and ask for help.

By Kevin McCarthy, Assistant Sports Editor for On-Air

Remember when your grade-school teachers told you how difficult middle school was going to be? That turned out to be a joke. The middle school teachers said the same thing: “Oh just wait until you get to high school…” I won’t call high school a joke — but, considering you got into the University of Illinois, I’ll presume that you breezed through high school relatively unscathed.

But when your high school teachers told you that college would truly be a big step up, they weren’t kidding. This place is actually tough.

Don’t fret, there are plenty of resources to help you succeed.

There are many ways that students can get help with their course work. First and foremost, my biggest piece of advice to incoming freshman is to go to office hours. Professors and TAs hold them for a reason: they want to help you.

Allow me to share a story. During my first semester of freshman year, I was taking a philosophy class that had four major essays due throughout the semester. After writing the first two essays, not doing well on them and realizing I wasn’t the next Socrates, I started meeting with the TA of the class for help. I earned an A on both of the last two essays. Funny how that works.

I have many similar stories to this one and I’m not alone. If you meet regularly with your professor or TA for office hours, you will do better. I can promise you that. Every professor I’ve had has wanted his or her students to do well. They just want you to show the effort, too.

There are also tutoring services available for many courses. It’s very easy to find time in your schedule to stop by these tutoring tables and get help with your work. Once again, they’re there for a reason. They want to help you.

Writing college essays can be difficult for incoming students as well. It’s certainly a step-up from what you’re used to in high school. No worries here — the writer’s workshop can help. All you have to do is set an appointment with a writing consultant and they’ll help you with grammar, structure, content, etc. Rumor has it that an appointment with the writer’s workshop will guarantee you a full letter grade boost on your essay. I can neither confirm or deny this statement, but I certainly know this is a very beneficial service. Check it out.

There are plenty of options to get help with your homework, studying for tests and writing essays. But, it’s on you to go and get the help. Your professor is not going to come knocking on your door. You have to go and seek out help yourself. That’s what professors, TAs and these tutoring services are for. Take advantage of these opportunities.

The great Winston Churchill once said, “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Please, heed Mr. Churchill’s advice.

Enjoy your time in Champaign, it flies by.

Kevin McCarthy is a junior in Media.

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