Using Your Resources
One of the great things about being a Vanderbilt student is the plethora of academic, extracurricular, and personal resources available to students. We’re only here for a limited amount of time, so using of all of the services offered is paramount. Here are some of the resources I’ve been able to take advantage of that have helped me not only survive but thrive in college.
- Office Hours – Professors often hold weekly session where students can come in and ask questions that they have about the week’s lectures. Many students do not take advantage of this opportunity or only go in before tests. Making sure to go and clarify anything you’re uncertain about (even if it’s a small detail) will establish a good habit of making sure your understanding is robust. Also, it’s great to introduce yourself and get to know your professors, as many of them love talking to students!
- Teaching Assistants – TA’s are graduate students who often run weekly recitation classes where students are able to go over material from class. Going to my Chemistry TA’s office hours/setting up appointments to review concepts has been very helpful. They are literally paid to make sure that undergraduates understand the information, so definitely ask them if you ever need help!
- Academic Tutoring – Another useful resource is academic tutoring, which is availble in a variety of different subjects. The building is located pretty close to the freshman dorms and they provide individual, hourly appointments. Be sure to sign up quickly because spots run out fast!
- Libraries and Online Journals – Vanderbilt’s several libraries are full of resources related to science, medicine, history, law, religious studies, etc. They’re also great study spots! Not to mention the thousands of online scholarly sources instantly available to you as a student – these have been incredibly helpful for my research papers in my first year writing seminar.
- Academic Advisers – Students are given an academic adviser based on their declared majors as freshman (and CASPAR or pre-major advisers are assigned in Arts and Sciences) and are later re-assigned one if they choose to switch majors. They’re great people to talk to regarding picking a major, choosing courses, and general academic advice.
- Student Organization Fair – In the beginning of the fall semester each year, all of the student organizations hold a fair in the Rec Center Field House and recruit new students to come. This is a great resource if you are interested in getting involved on campus and a good place learn about all the exciting opportunities available.
- Research Opportunities – Research opportunities for undergraduates abound at Vanderbilt! I’ve talked about my experiences before, but I just want to emphasize how easy it is for students to start working on these projects as early as freshman year. Professors are really willing to involve you if you just reach out and show interest.
- The Rec! – Taking time to exercise in college is a must. Exercise reduces stress, helps you sleep, and allows you to focus more! The Rec Center is a great place to go sweat it out either in the normal workout rooms or by taking one of the myriad of (included) group fitness classes available. The Commons Center also has a gym which is super convenient, and Murray House (one of the 10 freshman dorms) offers weekly running sessions on Saturdays.
- Anchorlink – This is a website describing all of the student organizations and upcoming events. You can sign up for clubs and activities or get tickets to a performance.
- Rand Wall – Rand Wall is the wall outside of Rand Hall/Saratt Student Center where students are often advertising upcoming events related to their organizations. They’re a good place to learn about on campus happenings and meet new people.
- The University Counselling Center (UCC), Center for Student Wellbeing (CSW), and Student Health Center (SHC) – The UCC has provided support for me this semester as I’ve dealt with my anxiety and sleep issues, as well as the SHC which I’ve visited when I was sick for a few weeks. The CSW also has lots of programs for students like time management sessions, meditation rooms, and even yoga classes! If all of these options seem like a lot to you, the Office of Student Care and Coordination can help you figure out the best place to go for support.
- Mentorship Programs – VUceptors are leaders of the first semester freshman Visions program, which is an orientation/first semester program held until the last week before Thanksgiving break. Having an upperclassmen to reach out to and also a group of fellow freshman to talk to is really nice and provides a space for you to adjust to college life. RA’s are also always there to talk if you need to, and the peer guide program can provide support too!
- The Career Center – The Career Center provides opportunities for one-on-one appointments to help you do anything from figuring out your career path, to setting up your resume, or even setting up a Linkedin page. It also holds many career fairs for upperclassmen throughout the year and some smaller events with employers. They have a website called DoreWays which helps connect Vandy students with potential internships, jobs, summer programs, etc.
- VUConnect & Alumni Network – Vanderbilt has over 130,000 living alumni and this the VUConnect website can help you reach out to them! This is also where you can sign up for the summer send-off parties that happen in a variety of locations throughout the world the summer before your freshman year, which helps introduce you to your incoming classmates.