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How I Write and Learn

Dropping in With the Drop-in Tutors

By Nikki, a Peer Tutor 

Drop-in tutoring has long since been a part of the Carolina tutoring tradition. Taking place in Dey Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 6-8 PM, drop-in tutoring is a place of lively collaboration between students and tutors to tackle Carolina’s toughest courses. Those newer to Carolina may only remember the zoom version of drop-in tutoring, but last semester, Dey Hall opened its doors to students once again! Get a chance to take an inside look at drop-in tutoring through interviews with three of last semester’s drop-in tutors. 

A white poster against a brick wall in Dey Hall. The poster advertises drop-in Peer Tutoring from 6-8 pm in Dey Hall every Tuesday and Wednesday.

Caption: Drop in tutoring takes place every Tuesday and Wednesday night in Dey hall

 

What is your favorite part about being a drop-in tutor?

My favorite part of being a drop-in peer tutor was getting to work with students in a variety of different subjects. I tutored across ten different courses in math, chemistry, and biology, and it was really fun to work with students in different classes and majors and learn from their unique insight into the material. – Alyssa

My favorite part about being a drop-in tutor was meeting so many capable, driven students here at UNC. The fact that we were crowded most nights attests to how many students care about their academic life. I loved being able to help guide students in the right direction if they were stuck, but I loved seeing their “aha!” moments even more – the moments where they were struggling to find the answer for a good 30 seconds (seemingly an eternity to the student, I imagine) but were able to find the answer through their own critical thinking. If these students were not confident about the material before, it was in these moments that they gained it; it was always a beautiful sight to see. – Addison

My favorite part about being a drop-in tutor was definitely connecting with my peers through peer tutoring. There is nothing like witnessing that “A-ha” moment when someone understands a really complex or confusing concept for the first time. Though I helped guide these students to this understanding, their grasp of these concepts often came from their own knowledge of the topics, and I really feel like peer tutoring helped to shape their confidence in the subject area they came into Drop-In tutoring for. I love helping my peers, and I feel like I really got the opportunity to do that through Drop-In tutoring. – Megan

 

Why should students come to drop-in tutoring?

Drop-in peer tutoring is a great way to get one-on-one help with course content in a low-pressure environment. The drop-in peer tutors are undergraduate students too, so they remember what it was like to take these classes and probably struggled with a lot of the same concepts. Peer tutors often have great tips for tackling tough problems and studying for exams. – Alyssa

Drop-in tutoring is a great way for students to keep themselves accountable with their work. Not every student works or studies the same, and, for those that need an extra push, going to drop-in peer tutoring puts them in a setting where they are surrounded by other hard-working students looking for help. Getting in the rhythm of attending drop-in tutoring is a great habit to have, as students are challenged to think critically and are not in a position to procrastinate or push off their work. – Addison

Drop-in tutoring is a great option for a variety of reasons. First, it gives students the option of seeking help and guidance on course material in a more social/less intimidating environment from students who have taken the same course in the past. Also, peer tutors often give wonderful tips and tricks to succeed in the course they tutor in since they have taken the class before and done well in it. Students should come to drop in tutoring whether they are completely stuck on a concept, or even if they just have one small question. Drop-in tutoring is also just a great place to come to to review material from a class with the support of a peer tutor. – Megan

 

What is the environment like at Dey Hall?

I always felt like the environment in Dey Hall was the perfect mix of productive and relaxing. The students I worked with always accomplished a lot during their sessions, but we also had some time to chat about our thoughts on the course and the content in a more casual way than you would with a professor or TA. – Alyssa

The atmosphere of Dey Hall during drop-in tutoring is less intimidating than many professors or TA’s office hours, mainly because the peer tutors that tutees meet with are other undergraduate students, just like them. It comforts students to know that the tutors they meet with went through some of the same struggles they are experiencing now, and many students would agree that drop-in tutoring provides a safe space to ask questions, get clarification, or simply bounce ideas off of without judgment. – Addison

I found that the environment in Dey Hall was always very conducive to learning, but also very low-stress. I have found that approaching a professor or private tutor in a one-on-one setting can often be a bit intimidating. The perk of Dey Hall is that there will always be many students seeking out peer tutoring with a variety of tutors offering assistance. I believe that this makes Dey Hall a very collaborative place. – Megan

 

What inspired you to become a peer tutor?

Before I became a drop-in peer tutor, I had over six years of experience working as a private tutor for elementary- through college-aged students. I wanted to become a peer tutor because I enjoy helping students learn new things. I also knew firsthand how frustrating it can be to struggle in a college course and not be able to find the right support, so I hoped that I would be able to provide that support for others. – Alyssa

I had not thought about becoming a peer tutor until my accounting professor, C.J. Skender, recommended me for the position. At first, I was a little hesitant to apply, but I eventually realized that peer tutoring would be a great way to give back to my Carolina community and help reinforce the prior material that I had learned. – Addison

I was inspired to become a peer tutor because, to put it simply, I really love helping my peers succeed. Before I became a peer tutor, my friends would always joke that I needed to start charging them for all the late night “tutoring” sessions I would hold for them in physics and chemistry classes we were taking together. I always enjoyed helping my friends understand class content better, and I wanted to be able to support more of my peers by becoming a peer tutor. – Megan

 

Name a favorite tutoring memory from your time as a drop-in tutor.

One of my favorite memories from drop-in tutoring was when I was working with a student in a biology course studying transcription and translation. We were trying to draw out some of the processes and had a ton of fun making some really awful drawings of ribosomes and tRNA. – Alyssa

One of my favorite memories from my time as a drop-in tutor was my first tutoring session in Dey Hall. I was nervous, as evident by my sweaty palms, but it turned out to be one of the best sessions I had. The student I tutored that night came prepared: she had her textbook, she had practice problems she wanted to go over, and she had a pen in hand, ready to take notes with. The attentiveness and care she showed towards me and the subject she came for made me realize how naturally creative, resourceful and whole students are, and the confident smile my tutee left with showed me the impact I was making as a peer tutor. – Addison

Though I have many great memories of actually tutoring during drop-in tutoring, I often look back on being a drop-on tutor and think about how close I became with some of the other drop-in tutors. Our room was always so lively with laughter (one of the peers tutors was very funny) and excitement when one of our tutees met their goal that they had set at the beginning of the session. We would often work together if one of us was not quite sure how to answer a tutee’s question, and I think that this really speaks to the collaborative and fun nature of drop-in tutoring. – Megan

Approximatley two dozen small, circular pins scattered across a table. Each pin is carolina blue and depicts the learning center logo and the name of each peer tutor.

Caption: The name tags of all our drop in tutors! 

As you can see, drop-in tutoring has some incredibly supportive tutors who want to help those around them succeed! Drop-in tutoring is a great way for students of all skill levels to stay on top of their courses, whether you don’t understand anything in the course or just need someone to hold you accountable for studying, drop-in tutoring can help you achieve whatever academic goals best align with you. Drop-in tutoring takes place Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6-8 pm, no appointment needed. For more information, be sure to check out https://learningcenter.unc.edu/drop-in-peer-tutoring/

A college-age women sitting at a welcome desk in the entryway of Dey Hall waiting to greet students for drop-in tutoring.

Caption: One of our wonderful drop in tutors checking people in 


This blog showcases the perspectives of UNC Chapel Hill community members learning and writing online. If you want to talk to a Writing and Learning Center coach about implementing strategies described in the blog, make an appointment with a writing coach, a peer tutor, or an academic coach today. Have an idea for a blog post about how you are learning and writing remotely? Contact us here.

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