So you’re taking a class in one of the four STEM—science, technology, engineering, or math—fields, or maybe a combination of a few. There’s no denying these can be some of the most challenging academic disciplines you’ll encounter during your college career.
Yet, that’s no reason to shy away from STEM. In fact, many students enjoy these fields so much that they choose to major in them, perhaps hoping for a career in engineering or to advance on to medical school. The key to doing well in any STEM class is being aware of the resources available to you so you can succeed.
There are many places you can turn if you find yourself in need of some extra help. Here are three great resources for STEM students:
1. Office hours
Professors’ and TAs’ office hours are a free and valuable, yet underutilized, STEM resource available to you right on campus. They’re the first place to turn if you find yourself in need of extra help in a STEM class. During a professor’s or TA’s office hours, you can ask any and all questions about class materials, subject matter, grades, and related topics—they’re the experts, after all, so they should know!
To attend office hours, all you need to do is make an appointment by emailing or calling your professor. Once you have an appointment, make the most of it by writing down the questions and ideas you’d like to discuss beforehand. Moreover, bring a notebook with you so you can jot down any important information or tips you learn during your one-on-one with your professor or TA.
2. STEM groups and clubs
Many college campuses have study groups or clubs dedicated to specific subject matter, including some in the STEM fields. These organizations may be led by researchers or graduate students in the field and focus on helping enthusiastic STEM students get access to the resources they need to succeed—both academically and professionally. Group and club events often involve meetings with guest speakers, workshops, and outings.
While students planning on entering a career in STEM may benefit most from being a part of on-campus STEM groups and clubs, anyone wanting to learn more about STEM is welcome to join. There may even be specific groups for those majoring in STEM and specific groups for those who are just curious about it, so do your research. You’ll be surrounded by STEM-minded students who can offer you their advice, knowledge, and support. This means joining can benefit your academic performance, as well as possibly inspire a future career in STEM!
But how do you go about all this if you cannot find an official STEM group? You can still set up a regular study group with a few of your fellow STEM classmates where you chat about your latest assignments. Additionally, group or club leaders you identify may able to recommend internship, research, and job opportunities, so be sure to express your interest.
[RELATED: Why Students Should Care About STEM]
3. Online tools
Real-live people are usually the most effective resources to help you out if you need assistance with something STEM-related—whether it’s academic or professional in nature. Yet, with today’s technology, it’s possible to get that one-on-one STEM help online (or via an app!).
The Varsity Tutors Mobile Tutoring App can connect you with talented instructors in any of the STEM fields, for instance. You can receive high-quality, live instruction from an expert with just the click of a button on your smartphone. With the busy schedules of STEM students in college, what better way to access some help than on-the-go?
Remember that through any of the above avenues, you can find resources in essentially any aspect of STEM you need, from parabolas in algebra to the layers of the heart in biology. Good luck in your STEM studies!
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