During my first year at UT, I was always stressed out about my classes because I did not understand the material being taught.

Oftentimes, my professor’s office hours did not work for me because I had classes around the same time. I had to look for alternatives, so I explored the UT website and encountered a page titled the Student Success Center.

At first, I was very skeptical about it, but I gave it a try.

At the Student Success Center, UT students are guaranteed the help they need. They provide three different options to choose from which include: academic coaching, supplemental instruction, and tutoring. Each of these options are different ways the Student Success Center can help students, all of which have a specific purpose. Some of these purposes include studying tactics, time management, preparation for exams, and mastering the course.

You can make an appointment to meet one-on-one with an academic coach or even schedule an appointment for tutoring. The Student Success Center is also free to all UT students and allow students to attend an unlimited amount of times.

I remember my first accounting supplemental instruction (SI) meeting, a resource the Student Success Center offers to students. I walked in and to my surprise, the SI leader was a current undergraduate student. I was confused at first but later discovered that she had taken accounting a few years ago and stated she was passionate about teaching accounting and how she was comfortable with the material.

She gave us personalized notes, practice problems, and even made practice exams to help us understand the material. I felt relieved knowing I had someone who was willing to help me understand a class like accounting. I started to understand the material taught in class after every SI session and felt more comfortable about the course.

I found myself not struggling on my exams, and my scores reflected how much I understood the information being taught. I noticed other students who attended the SI sessions also had great results on their exams.

Without SI sessions, I would have been struggling to pass my accounting course.

After attending several SI sessions and becoming comfortable with the material, I often found myself assisting and teaching students in the same classes as me. While assisting these students in classes such as Math 123, or finite mathematics, I found a passion for wanting to tutor not only those in my class, but everyone at UT.

To my surprise, the Student Success Center offers job opportunities to undergraduate students who have a deep understanding of a specific subject and allows them to help students at UT. I saw this as a great opportunity to help students with Math 123 by providing them with tips and strategies I learned in class or what I discovered on my own to ensure success in that class, so I sent an application to become a Math 123 tutor.

I have not been informed on the status of my application, however, one of the tutors offered to send a letter of recommendation and saw me as a potential candidate to become a tutor. I want students to feel like they can be successful and confident, and the Student Success Center at UT allows me to do so.

I hope students at UT start to realize that there are resources such as the Student Success Center which can help them become successful and confident. I want students to know there are different ways the Student Success Center can aid them academically whether it is through tutoring, SI sessions, or even having an academic coach.

Without the help that I received from the Student Success Center, I would have struggled throughout a lot of my classes and I hope I can open a gateway for students to seek help like I did.

Alan Tung is a sophomore studying business analytics and finance and can be reached at atung@vols.utk.edu.

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