Success as a Student: Tutoring Can Help
Casey Mashburn couldn’t let one class prevent him from meeting his life goals.
Chemistry isn’t easy for everyone, but as a biology major aspiring to become an orthodontist, it’s a necessary course.
“I didn’t think college would be that hard,” said Mashburn, a Dalton State student who also serves on the Orientation Team. “But when the tests kept coming back with failing grades, I knew something had to change. I knew I could do it. I knew I could do better. But I needed help.”
Mashburn was in his first semester at Dalton State and was hesitant to reach out for help. But he’s glad he did.
Mashburn turned to Student Support Services, in the Dean of Students Office, where he was matched with a tutor. Tutors are students who can relate to the stresses of college. They are trained on how to tutor their peers, how to recognize their needs and learning styles, and how to meet those needs. Tutors meet with the student they’re tutoring weekly, help them with study tips, and test preparation, in addition to helping them understand the material in a relatable manner.
Currently Mashburn is working with Awaz Yaseen, a biology major who has been tutoring for two years.
“If you need a tutor, go to the Dean of Students office and say you need a tutor,” Yaseen said. “They’ll show you where to go online to select an available time to meet with a tutor. It’s simple. During the first session, we’ll introduce ourselves and make sure the person we’re tutoring is comfortable and confident we’ll teach them what they need to know. We normally ask them what they’ll need help with, then I come in with my old notes from those classes. I’ll pull out examples and go from there.”
In tutoring, students have the opportunity to learn the material one-on-one, which is sometimes necessary for success.
“You come in, and we identify what you’re struggling with,” said tutor Blane Bennett, a chemistry major who has been tutoring three years. “It’s about breaking down the material to make it more simplistic than a professor can do in a classroom setting. We tutors train every month to learn different styles and how to reach people. We want to make sure those we’re tutoring understand the material.”
Tutoring doesn’t have to be dry or boring. The tutors work hard to make sure students are engaged and learning the material in an exciting way.
"We will host a lot of fun events each semester," said Brooklyn Herrera, coordinator for tutoring and supplemental instruction. "For example, we have Let’s Taco ‘Bout Test Taking Skills that will feature a free taco bar and 10 minute sessions about effective study skills. My goal is for students to meet and interact with tutors at this event and see how fun and relatable that they really are. We want all students to see the benefit of receiving tutoring. After all, it is a free resource on campus.
"Our students who come to tutoring are not always struggling to pass a course," she said. "A lot of students attend sessions to maintain their high GPA. Many students sign up for a specific tutor that they can see consistently each week to hold them accountable and discuss the material throughout the term. Other students will make one-time appointments if they are struggling with a particular concept."
“Sometimes it’s little things you need help with,” Yaseen said. “Your peers don’t look at the fact you’re going to tutoring, just that you’re succeeding as a student.”
Tutoring has helped Mashburn slow down with his work.
“Awaz has helped me have an eye for detail,” he said. “If something doesn’t work right, I can go back and see where I messed up now. Before I would rush through and not catch mistakes. It’s more than just being taught the information. She’s teaching me a different way to study, and a different way to handle stress and college.
“I want to succeed in life, and I know tutoring is what can help me do that,” he said. “I thought people may make fun of me because I’m not as smart, but that’s not the case. And in the end it’s my education. It doesn’t matter what other people think anyway.”