By Naila Tariq
We are now two months into this semester and experienced AUSers know what this means: midterms, projects, and research papers are coming in fast. But there's no need to panic. AUS is home to a wealth of free services that provide academic help, and who knows? Maybe one of them will end up being exactly what you need.
So just take a moment to remind yourself of the various kinds of free help you can take advantage of in order to do well in all your courses. These may be new to some, especially those who just joined AUS this semester. But all we need to know and always remember is that, there is help, free help that is available for you to get that extra help you need to improve your grades and GPA.
This one is obvious, yet a lot of people tend to avoid it. Especially freshmen. All professors dedicate at least two hours a week to being available in their office for students who have questions or concerns about the material.
It might feel scary, but most professors are actually impressed when students show up. It indicates to them that you care about doing well and you are making an effort to learn. Plus, if you're worried you'll embarrass yourself in class with your questions, talking to the professor one-on-one will be a lot easier. If their office hours clash with your schedule, email them and ask for an appointment. They'll be happy to accommodate you.
Academic Support Center
This little gem is hidden away in the Office of Financial Grants and Scholarships, but the center provides a ton of resources for those struggling with their studies. It has two main focuses: accommodation for students with disabilities – such as arranging for them to have extra time during exams – and helping improve academic performance.
Counselors are on-hand to teach skills and strategies that will improve focus and learning. While they primarily work with people on probation, they are also available for anyone who wants do better in their studies.
The center also has Peer Advisors. These are exceptional students from each of the four colleges who act as role models and provide an “insider's view” on how things work. They have set timings that depend on their availability, which are posted on a board behind the center's front desk.
Additionally, the Academic Support Center hosts workshops throughout the semester that teach valuable skills for excelling at university.
To visit the center or meet with a Peer Advisor, you need to make an appointment either at the front desk or via phone call or email [firstname.lastname@example.org].
The Writing Center
Almost every major at university will involve writing at some point. Whether you feel you're a weak writer, or would just like to make sure you're on the right track, a visit to the AUS Writing Center is in order. They have two branches, one in the library and a smaller one in SBA, and they're open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every weekday.
Writing tutors offer help with citations, grammar, spelling, different types of essays, and any other difficulties you may have. The tutors are current students who have been trained to help you, so if professors are too intimidating, not to worry. You get a session with someone close to your age who has probably been exactly where you are and understands what it's like.
You can't just drop in, though. You have to book an appointment through their website. You will have to make an account if you don't have one already; it doesn't log in with your regular AUS credentials. Happy writing!
Research Help Desk
If it's not the writing that's got you worried, but the lack of sources for your topic, then why not try the Research Help Desk in the library? From 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday (and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Thursdays) a librarian is available to help you search for resources. Not only do they help you find sources for your topic, but they also teach you how to improve your research skills. The desk is located on the first floor, right in front of the glass doors that lead to the Reference books. No appointment necessary.
Math Learning Center
Maybe words aren't your problem. Maybe you're an A-grade writer and master researcher. Maybe the problem is... numbers. I feel you. I'm a journalism student and one of my professors likes to joke that “Journalism plus Math always equals Error.” He isn't entirely wrong. (At least not in my case). Luckily, AUS has its very own Math Learning Center. It's similar to the Writing Center in that student-tutors are available to help you get the hang of everything from quadratic equations to advanced calculus.
The center is on the top floor of NAB, near the Math Department's offices. It's open from Monday-Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., but be sure to check their schedule for more details, as each tutor only helps with specific courses.
So there you have it, five different services that AUS offers, designed to help make academic life just a little bit easier. You may find you need none of these resources, or end up making use of all of them during your time here. Both are more than okay. As long as you're doing the best you can, you'll be just fine.
Best of luck!
Naila Tariq is a student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah