Navigating the path to academic success can be challenging for university students. Obstacles to achieving academic goals can include larger class sizes, heavier workloads, different learning styles, and for some, living away from home.
Fortunately, peer tutoring is available, and one of the many resources provided for students seeking aid in math, physics and chemistry courses. Victoria College’s Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising offers free tutoring services for first-year math and physics, as well as first- and second-year chemistry. Tutors are undergraduate students hired based on their academic excellence and past experience. They work closely with the Victoria College Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising and departmental professors to support their peers in learning. Tutoring is open to all students in the Faculty of Arts & Science and is offered as a drop-in service. Students are welcome and encouraged to attend tutoring whenever they would like help with textbook questions, past tests, or overarching concepts from lectures or labs.
Sepi Mortazavi has tutored calculus and chemistry students for three years at Victoria College. She describes peer tutoring as a very welcoming environment where no appointments are necessary. "Sometimes people even come to study," says Mortazavi. "Being with the tutors and other students motivates them to get their work done, and they take comfort in knowing that they can get help quickly if they encounter a problem.” She says that tutors are also students who recently completed their respective courses. “We remember concepts that were challenging to grasp and common misconceptions from when we learned the material the first time. This helps us understand concepts that can be confusing for the students we tutor.”
Mortazavi adds that she has immensely enjoyed being a tutor. She loves seeing tutees experience their “lightbulb moments” after realizing they know how to solve the problem. She says she has also had the pleasure of meeting many great student leaders (tutors and tutees alike), and through her work she has had the opportunity to continuously engage with first- and second-year material that was relevant and helpful in upper-year courses. Her role as a tutor has “opened doors to incredible opportunities which have inevitably shaped my entire university experience.”
When asked if she had any advice for first-year students, Mortazavi says, “I think the transition to university can be quite overwhelming. There are so many clubs, student groups, and resources. It can be hard to keep track of everything by yourself. I recommend reflecting on your goals. What are you looking for and what do you want to accomplish here? Reach out to someone—your Registrar’s Office, a professor, or an upper-year student you admire. Ask them for help in creating a plan or finding someone who can do so. University can be a very rewarding place for those who take a little initiative.”
This year, Peer Tutoring will run from September 20, 2021 to April 8, 2022. Stay tuned for the schedule, which will be posted on the Victoria College website and on Quercus pages for corresponding courses.