Help is on the way

For many college students, studying is simply a way of life. However, many do not know that there is actually a correct way to study, as well as a way utilize time in order for self-improvement.

In an effort to help Sam Houston students, the Student Advising and Mentoring Center will be offering a study skills workshop series, starting September 14.

“It’s a series of six, fifty minute sessions,” said Dr. Bernice Strauss, Director of Academic Support Programs at SHSU, “covering things like overcoming procrastination, time management, reading college textbooks, and taking good class notes as well as test taking strategies.”

During the series, each session will deal with a specific topic. The topics that will be covered during the series are studying smart, procrastination, time management, reading textbooks and note taking, test taking strategies, and stress management.

“There’s this mythology that students are spending their time hanging out and drinking coffee, and most of the students that I know have jobs and lots of constraints from their time, so that balancing their time and making sure they are productive and achieving their academic goals are difficult,” Strauss said.

In an effort to better meet the student’s demands, the workshop offers numerous times throughout the day so that times are available for any students who wish to participate.

“We have study skills groups that meet at 8 a.m., and some that meet at 6 o’clock at night,” Strauss said.

Regarding the attendance seen by Strauss, it appears SHSU students are taking the initiative.

“We have roughly in the area between 800 and 1,000 students participate every year,” Strauss said. “We have about 20 different groups so that regardless of the students schedule we work hard to accommodate every student who might want to attend study skills.”

Even more interesting is that the groups are taught by fellow SHSU students who know personally what the attendees have gone through and are currently going through.

“The other thing I should tell you is that this a program taught by students for students. I think they are particularly effective in sharing both their own personal success stories and challenges,” Strauss said.

For any student considering to participate in the workshop, they will first be tested at the beginning of the workshop and the end in order for the advisors to gain a better understanding of what they have problems with and to see of any improvement.

“The other thing that I’m particularly proud of is we do an assessment of study skills in the beginning and at the end because we want to see if our program is effective,” Strauss said. “I have been a student a long time myself and I really think that we owe it to students to demonstrate effectiveness, especially in programs like this.”

“This is not a program for entertainment or to broaden horizons. We want to help you accomplish certain very concrete goals, so I want to know from an objective standpoint that it’s working. We look at your ability to select main ideas, to self-test. We look at time management. Those are all skills that we look at on this test,” Strauss said.

Another important aspect of the workshop is that it helps to improve a student’s grade point average.

“The other thing we look at is grade point average. Every single semester except for one, we have had students, statistically, have an increase in GPA after having taken the study skill series. So people raise their GPA and I’m happy about that. It’s not big, but it is statistically significant meaning it is not chance,” Strauss said.

Strauss also believes that the workshop helps to give the student a type of personal confidence, because after having gone through the workshop, the student comes out with better study skills, which will help them succeed in the future.

“I also think that one of the problems is that when students don’t do well academically they think it’s about their IQ,” Strauss said. “They think it’s about their ability when in fact it’s really about their skills. Our job is to teach them true skills and then they’re empowered to make choices about how to improve their skills.”

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