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A secret

Friday, February 17, 2012


Walking into classes at CU can be slightly intimidating on your first day. You may glance at your map, find you have class in Math 100- a 400 person lecture hall- and cower in the back rows, far away from the professor's gaze. Your teacher may drop unfamiliar terms like "neoliberal economic policy" or refer to obscure names like Kant or Huntington, which may cause you to frantically scribble down their words, punctuated with a "???!?!?!?!?!" But don't fear; classes at CU are manageable. Teachers are there because they want you to learn, and there are a few secrets to capitalizing on your education.

1) GO TO CLASS. It's that simple. Just showing up will allow you to understand the material far better than just glancing over the professor's slides online. Teachers will relate broad concepts, show how to solve example equations on the board, and will go over the more confusing aspects of the reading. Additionally, professors will drop hints regarding the up-coming midterm or give you a good tip for your term paper. By not being seduced by the skipping class trap, you'll keep your GPA up and your parents happy.

2) SIT FRONT AND CENTER. Don't worry; you won't spontaneously combust if you sit in the front row, I promise. Studies have shown that students who sit in the front of the classroom or in the center middle seats tend to perform higher in class. If the difference between a B and a C comes down to selecting your seat, finding a chair might just be the easiest way to boost your grade.

3) GO TO OFFICE HOURS. All professors and TAs are required to hold office hours weekly for student to come visit them. This time is incredibly valuable and usually the most quiet part of the professor's day. By going to office hours, you can clarify, one on one, any concepts you may be unsure of from lecture. Also, if a professor mentioned something that particularly peaked your interest, going into their office hours to get more information is a great idea. It shows the professor that you care about school (which may be helpful at the end of the semester when your B suddenly turns into a B+). Forging relationships with professors you particularly like will become very advantageous to you as you progress through your college career-- maybe they'll ask you to be a student research assistant or write an excellent letter or recommendation for your prestigious study abroad program.

Easy enough, right?

International Affairs, Anthropology • Colorado Springs, Colorado