Asking questions in class is advice that David S. Torain II, Ph.D., professor of mathematics and statistics at Montgomery College would offer new students.
Photo courtesy of Montgomery College
“Do not come to college simply for financial gain. Study what you are most passionate about. Study what you love.” —Vincent Intondi, Ph.D., professor of history, Montgomery College.
Many high school seniors will spend their holiday break working on college applications or making visits to perspective university campuses. As the excitement builds over the new collegiate experience that lies ahead, local professors offer advice on the things they wish they could share with new college students.
Avoid seeing college as simply a means to end or a pathway to a career and instead take advantage of the multitude of learning experiences available to students. From football games and art exhibitions to student debates and faculty recitals, there are opportunities gain a vast amount of knowledge in four years. Use that time to discover one’s interests, says Vincent Intondi, Ph.D., professor of history at Montgomery College. “Do not come to college simply for financial gain,” he said. “Study what you are most passionate about. Study what you love. The jobs will be there.”
In an effort to encourage students to move outside of their comfort zone, Linda Gulyn suggests that they, “Learn, have new experiences, but do well academically,” she said. “Socialize and engage in activities across your major or regular crowd.”
"Read and always do your homework,” said David S. Torain II, Ph.D., professor of mathematics and statistics at Montgomery College. “If you read slowly, don’t sweat it, just read,” he said. “If you get bored, break your reading into short sessions, but come back to it. If you can’t make sense of it all, make sense of as much of it as you can, then talk to a classmate and ask a question in class."
Use college as an opportunity to build skills that will be necessary after college, says Jerome Short, Ph. D. “Students should choose courses and experiences to build their oral and written communication skills to better express themselves persuasively and concisely,” he said.
Practice self-care and recognize stress and anxiety that a new college experience might bring. When those feelings arise, avoid negative coping mechanisms and instead focus on those which are healthy, advises Short. “College is a time to dramatically grow your brain,” he said. “Scientific research shows that exercise grows brain cells, learning connects cells, and sleep consolidates memories in cells. Do plenty of each of them every day.”
For some professors, one of the best parts of their job is getting to know and share knowledge with their students even on subjects that are not related to the course, says Joanne Bagshaw, PhD, professor of psychology at Montgomery College. “Get to know your professors, and make sure they get to know you,” she said. “Visit your professors during office hours and use the time to ask questions about the course and even chat about topics interesting to you.”