Vivian is finishing up her first year at Emory College, and we asked her to share a bit about how she found the academic environment here on campus. As an international student hoping to major in Business, she’s spent her first year taking many of her General Education Requirements (in things like Computer Science and Economics) that build on her ability to critically analyze business problems from many perspectives.
1. Emory is challenging
There is one undeniable fact: Emory classes are hard. In high school, I could get away with studying for an exam the night before. I can not do that in college. For each class, there are readings, problem sets, papers, and mid-terms. Multiply one class’s workload by five, and you get a taste of Emory’s academics rigor. I feel the stress, but I also love the challenge. Emory classes push me to think outside of the box, to examine a paper critically, and to learn as much as I possibly can.
2. Emory is collaborative
I love how Emory’s academic environment is not cut-throat competitive. The students have a lot of support for each other. I can always find someone from my class to study with before mid-terms. Every time I miss something on the blackboard during a lecture, I can always rely on the stranger next to me for help. A lot of classes emphasize the importance of collaboration as well. My computer science professor encourages us to work on the homework with another student to further the learning process.
The collaborative environment is even more apparent in small classes. I was very nervous for my first seminar class because I don’t like to speak up often in class, and the small size meant there would be more focus on each student. After a few weeks, I realized that my worries were unnecessary. Whenever I comment during an open discussion, my classmates listen attentively and wait patiently while I try to organize my thoughts. The support I’ve received from my classmates helps me become more confident and more prepared.
3. Emory is academically supportive
There are many resources that support the students’ learning experience at Emory. The best one is certainly Emory’s fantastic professors. All the professors have office hours, where students can go in and shoot away all the questions they have. The professors are incredibly kind and knowledgeable. Going to office hours helped me succeed academically in my first year at Emory. The professors are also very accommodating. I have another class during my economics professor’s office hours, but she is always willing to set up appointment with me at another time.
A lot of my classes have TAs (teaching assistants), who also contribute to the supportive academic environment. Like professors, the TAs have office hours where students can receive one-on-one help. For my computer science class, there are TAs in the computer lab from Monday to Sunday at almost every hour. One of the TAs hosts a weekly two-hour review session on Thursday, where students can learn the material again before the Friday quiz. The class is difficult, but the amount of support I’ve received makes it easier to handle.
One more resource that a lot of students utilize is the EPASS tutoring program. For most classes, you can sign up for an hour-long tutoring session with a student who has taken the class before. In the rare moments where I cannot find a time to go to office hours, I can receive help from an EPASS tutor. There are numerous resources at Emory that offer academic support; even though the classes are challenging, I never feel like I’m alone.
Vivian Fan 20B