When I was in high school, I would always ask my friends who were already in college “So, how’s college like? Is it hard?”; they never knew how to respond, which would always annoy me, but as my college career is coming to an end, I totally get it now! College will challenge you in ways that can only be understood once you’ve experienced it yourself. That’s not to say that you necessarily need to struggle through it, though; USC has MANY free resources to ensure academic success of its students, and today I want to talk about my favorite one: Supplemental Instruction!
Supplemental Instruction, or SI for short, is a free academic resource provided by USC Dornsife (school of letters, arts, and sciences) but available to all USC students. The premise of the program is to offer multiple review sessions for entry level STEM classes, such as Calculus, Chemistry, and Biology. All the sessions are peer-led; SI instructors (or SI leaders, as we call them) are students who have taken the class in question and done well in it. As a student, I used SI as a resource every single semester since I got to USC, especially for General and Organic Chemistry and Molecular Biology. Coming in for my senior year, I had such a special relationship with SI and it had such an important meaning to me that I decided to apply to become a leader! I got accepted and currently get to serve as an SI leader for MATH 226 (Calc 3), and it’s been by far one of my favorite involvements on campus.
Not only do I get to pursue my passion for teaching, but it’s an amazing privilege to serve as a resource and role model to underclassmen as a leader on campus. I have gotten amazing feedback from my students and getting to build connections with them has been a highlight of my senior year. SI is all about understanding students’ different needs and approaches to learning, and working with students that all come from different backgrounds has allowed me to develop my critical thinking skills and to grow as a person, student, and professional.
Last but not least, a fun fact: a LOT of my best friends are SI leaders! One of them actually SIs for a class I am taking right now, BISC 330 (Biochemistry)!