Friday, January 17, 2014

Enrolled in a Large Class? Success Tips

Guest Blogger:  Jennifer Merino-Moncada, U of U Alumna

You walk into class and realize you are in a class of 200+ students. You think to yourself, “how am I going to get through this?” Your palms start to sweat, you’re feeling anxious. High school was so different, you were in class with the same 30 people, and the instructor knew your name, now you feel like just another face in the crowd. 
This is the same scenario most new students experience. It can be very intimidating and overwhelming. However, with the right approach you can get through this experience and be successful in a large class setting.  

Even though there are no assigned seats in most college classes once students find where they feel comfortable they tend to sit there every class time. You can take advantage of this by getting to know the students that sit around you because they are probably the same people you will sit next to for the rest of the semester. Start by making small talk, introduce yourself and ask your neighbors why they took the class. You want to continue to get to know those around you because you will need a friend, an ally, a study companion. You never know when you will unexpectedly have to miss class. Having a friend in class that you can ask for notes and updates on what you missed is a key aspect of thriving in a large class setting. 

There are a few classes that require study groups or discussions to break up a large class to smaller sections, however many classes will not have that component so it will be up to you to form study groups and work on assignments together. This will become a regular aspect of your time in college. It is so frustrating when you are working on an assignment but get stuck on something. Having a study partner that you can text or email for help can alleviate some of that frustration. 
You may feel out of your element when stepping into a large class. You may feel uncomfortable asking a new person to let you borrow their notes or ask a question about the assignment but in reality those students around you are probably just as uncomfortable and feeling disconnected just like you. College is about taking control of your education, even when it is out of your comfort zone.  Take the initiative and start forming those connections. You will feel more connected to the university community and to those that spent countless of hours cramming with you for your next exam.

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