When I first arrived at Southern Methodist University, one of my biggest concerns was how the academic life at college would differ from high school. I won’t say whether it’s easier or harder because it depends on the individual, but I’ll outline what I wish I knew during my first semester.
SMU professors actually care about your education and performance in class. My high school teachers cared about my education too, but it was hard to schedule one-on-one appointments with them. At SMU, professors are happy to address any questions, concerns or troubles you may have.
These professors can also be your friends. Generally, if you have anything personal you want to talk to someone about, you should go to your guidance counselor or local chaplain, but our professors will also listen console you if you’re having any trouble in your life. They genuinely care about your entire wellbeing.
Our professors are well educated, well experienced and passionate about our subjects. My Discernment and Discourse professor, Mrs. Derdeyn, is one of my favorite teachers. She teaches Irish Literature, a class at first I thought would be exhausting and disheartening, but her passion and charisma made learning about Ireland’s culture one of my favorite subjects thus far. She cares about the material and is dedicated to ensuring that you’re doing well in the class.
Another great thing about SMU is that you can find a place to study almost anywhere on campus. The Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, or ALEC, provides free student tutors for almost every class available, writing workshops, and a quiet and spacious area to study. SMU also maintains several libraries scattered around campus with millions of books available, some of which are oddly specific – seriously, who will ever need an encyclopedia of grasshoppers in America?
Small class sizes and residential commons help a lot more than you’d expect. SMU’s student to faculty ratio is 11:1 with about three out of four classes having 30 students or fewer. This helps you get attention and assistance if you need it and develop a stronger relationship with your professors and peers. The new residential commons further facilitate a healthy interaction among peers. You will most likely find someone in your class within the historic or newly developed walls of your residential commons.
We declared SMU because we are all striving to achieve a valuable and higher education. If you’re worried about what your first college class will be like, I hope this article has calmed your nerves. SMU and our professors care about delivering the best quality education to every student of every major. College classes are frightening, but once you start to grasp the feel for it. you’ll realize that you’re in good hands.