Do Yourself a Favor and Go to Academic Services

Written by Evalyn Homoelle

Scenario 1: It’s the night before your paper is due. You’re worried about its thoroughness, clarity, and the accuracy of your citations. Your classmates and usual proofreaders are busy, and you’re starting to feel hopeless.

Scenario 2: You just received a less-than-perfect (ok, let’s be honest, a pretty rough) grade on a chemistry exam. You’ve already attended office hours with your professor, but you still don’t understand the concepts. Your study group is just as lost as you are. You re-read the textbook for a few hours and hope something clicks.

Scenario 3: You’ve really been struggling with time management and effective studying this semester. On top of that, registration for next semester is fast approaching and you are not sure what to take. You’ve talked to your academic advisor but you’re still unsure. You register and hope it works out. 

This is a grim picture. We’ve all been in one or more of these situations. And more likely than not, we’ll experience them again over the next few years. The good news is that you’re not alone; there is a place of hope and refuge. For some of us Hillsdale students, it’s not easy to ask for help. Many of us have perfectionist tendencies, and it’s not easy to visit Academic Services. After all, Academic Services is for students who are practically failing every course, right? 

Wrong! If you related to any of the above scenarios (that may or may not have been taken from my freshman year), then Academic Services is for you—the perfectionist, the procrastinator, the athlete, the academic, the biology major, the politics enthusiast, and everyone in between. Assuming you take the ultimate risk to seek help, you will find Academic Service’s cozy office in the basement of the Knorr Student Center.

Academic Services’ resources include the Writing Center, departmental tutoring, and academic counseling. It’s a valuable community of students, faculty, and staff ready to make your time at Hillsdale the most successful it can be. While it can be intimidating to take the plunge and book that appointment on Handshake, I can guarantee that you won’t regret it. 

Looking back, I wish I had taken my own advice sooner. I was that student in Scenario 1: I had my first written assignment due for Western Heritage the second week of classes, but I didn’t book a Writing Center appointment until 10:00 the night before the assignment was due. While the tutor was extremely helpful and gave me practical tips to better my writing, I wish I had asked for help sooner, so I could have made edits and visited the Center several times before my essay was due.

For me, one of the most helpful aspects has been meeting with the director of Academic Services, Christy Maier. I met Christy as a panicked freshman, trying to plan my next semester. My scheduling questions quickly displayed my long-term fears and questions: who do I take for Great Books? Should I continue on with science? Should I double major or double minor? Will I graduate on time? Christy listened as I poured out my uncertainty, and gave me thoughtful, practical, refreshingly simple advice: take different classes to discover what you love, continue studying what you love, and major in what you love. She advised me to stop my chemistry studies since the topic was becoming burdensome, and encouraged me to dabble in politics, English, and economics. Christy has experience as a Hillsdale student, professor, and academic advisor, which gives her a unique and refreshing perspective. She is also familiar with all the professors and departments of the College. Christy will give you parental advice, encouragement, and practical next steps as you prepare for your future.

The next time you’re feeling doubtful about an assignment, visit the little office in the basement of the Knorr Student Center. Whether it’s running your paper outline by upperclassmen (who have most likely had one of your core professors) in the Writing Center, or meeting at AJ’s Cafe with a departmental tutor (because we can’t all be experts in physics), or talking to Christy about staying on track for graduation and planning your schedule for next semester—Academic Services has something for you. 

With these resources, you’ll learn to work smarter, not harder. At best, you’ll get amazing feedback on your essay and then proceed to ace the assignment. At worst, you’ll spend half an hour with a fellow student who can offer encouragement. Or, you can be comforted by the guidance and wisdom of a staff member. What do you have to lose?

Take the leap and go to Academic Services.

Student Evalyn Homoelle Evalyn Homoelle, ’24, hails from the great state of Ohio and plans to pursue pre-allied health or political science and journalism. She is involved in Mock Trial and choir, and obsesses over dark chocolate, Jane Austen novels, classical music, and her golden retriever puppy.

Published in October 2021