It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I think it takes a village to pass Physics and get a good grade.
As a non campus student I had to become aggressive about my learning so I wouldn’t stay disconnected. I chose to find help from my classmates and in the process began to foster a “team learning” experience which turned out to be of mutual benefit.
Some students are the pioneer types. They have been gifted with a high IQ and very easily can grasp adding net force components, projectile motion, and tangential velocity. But others, like myself, need to marinate the information a while before tackling the tough equations on our own. In fact, we are in the majority and our hope is in communication.
After several weeks of staring glaze-eyed at my physics professor and the hieroglyphics he was writing and adding up on the board, I asked some of my classmates after lecture if they were getting what was being taught. To my surprise they weren’t. Most of us felt as if we were being taught Chinese by someone speaking Swahili. It wasn’t the professor’s fault. Physics is hard.
I began asking for emails for the “just in case” moment which turned out to be many. Everyone in my lab group was happy to share and I was happy to begin connecting. What at first was casual and almost unimportant soon turned into a regular sending of questions regarding homework problems, reminders about quizzes, and note sharing. This collection of emails from my classmates was a lifesaver.
Lab time became a favorite of mine since we would huddle and pool our knowledge about how to work through specific problems. Group learning was fun.
At the beginning of the semester during one of my “new born calf staring at the barn door” moments, I approached another classmate who was not in my email collection about a homework problem. She had met with the professor outside of class for some tutoring and had already begun digesting the lecture material. Good for her and good for me. Her uncomplicated interpretations of what my professor taught and what was found in the book made the difference between an A and a B.
As a commuting student who wants to get a good grade and meet some friends along the way:
- Be aggressive about connecting (in a nice unpresumptuous way) -Reach out to your classmates
- Don’t assume you’re the only one not “getting it”
- Talk to your professor. Ask about alternative suggestions for tutoring such as a website they might know about. Or simply request some personal tutoring. Most professors are incredibly helpful.
- Build a network of emails
- Meet some classmates at the local Starbucks or library for some group study time.
With that said, I am looking forward to meeting my new “village” this next semester.