From students for students: Tips to succeed this semester

Your success is up to you, and the peer tutors of the Student Success Center are here to offer some tips to help you achieve it.

Several peer tutors working at the Student Success Center (SSC) had some advice for their fellow students, touching on topics such as keeping your schedule consistent, figuring out what kind of learner you are, finding a work-life balance and studying to your strengths. 

The Student Success Center helps students help themselves. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Graham.

“If you’re someone who’s more academically inclined or tends to take on everything, make sure you make a point of leaving some time to relax or to clear your head, because doing work constantly will wear you down very quickly,” Rachel Wiedman, who’s been tutoring for three years, said. “Make sure you’re taking care of yourself, because you won’t be able to do any of the things you want to at the level that you want if you don’t!”

Wiedman also stated that the pandemic has introduced a new learning curve for many students when it comes to online classes and procrastination, a sentiment shared by many SSC tutors. 

“I find the biggest way to be successful is to find what works for you,” Olivia Kaufman, who’s been tutoring for two years, said. “We all learn differently, so identify what your strengths are and use them.”

Kaufman also explained that time management is key to success during online classes which is just one of many skills the SSC can help develop. 

Emma Krapfl, a new tutor this semester, suggested figuring out what kind of learner you are, such as visual, auditory or kinesthetic, and adjusting your study methods from there. She herself is an audio-visual learner, so she tries to explain her notes to someone else out loud. 

Some believe that only failing or struggling students should get help or that asking for help makes them weak, but Dianna Gilchrist, the Assistant Director of the SSC argues that this a common misconception. 

“Some want help to successfully get through a required course and many come in to work toward a higher grade and level of understanding with a peer tutor that has been successful in a course,” Gilchrist said. 

Dianne Gilchrist. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Graham.

Morgan Penrod, who’s been tutoring for a semester, agrees that asking questions can lead to deeper developments.

“Personally, I have seen how reaching out to ask questions does not only help get my work done, but also allows me to make connections and build relationships within the Ambrose community,” Penrod said. 

The Student Success Center offers a variety of free services, such as peer tutoring, study groups and writing tutorials, as well as programs that help students develop study skills and better their time management abilities. 

“Students utilize tutoring because of the value they place on their education and the high standards that come with St. Ambrose programs,” Gilchrist said. 

In-person appointments are still possible despite COVID-19, but there are virtual options available as well that are accessible through the MySAU Portal. 

“The one thing I will add about student success is that student success is entirely up to that student,” James Cormier, three-year tutor, said. “If they want to be successful, it is 100% in their hands. Working hard is not something that only some students can do.”

It’s never too early in this semester or too late in your academic career to start developing these skills. The Student Success Center is there to help you help yourself in achieving all that you can at SAU.