By Drew Troutman
Most college libraries are essentially the same. Some students study while others nap or watch Netflix. Noise is kept to a minimum as speaking above a whisper results in sharp looks from others. The same goes for the W.L. Lyons Brown Library. That is, until you leave the main floor and descend to the B-Level of the building.
Unlike other areas of the library, the Bellarmine Tutoring Center is constantly buzzing with energy. Hundreds of students visit the Tutoring Center to receive assistance from peers who excelled in the same courses: and it’s completely free.
While the Tutoring Center typically sees a rise of appointments just before and after fall break, Assistant Director of Academic Services Dr. Dominique Clayton said students already have been flocking to the Tutoring Center.
“We had about 30 more students use the Tutoring Center than last year in that first week (of the semester),” Clayton said. “A lot of first-year students, before they even started having class, were making appointments. That’s really positive, and it’s just been increasing.”
Students and faculty alike contribute to the uplifting, positive atmosphere that keeps students coming back to the Tutoring Center.
“The Tutoring Center is a very supportive environment and a lot of the tutors…have been to tutoring themselves, so they know the experience and they know what it feels like,” Clayton said.
Senior Emily Porta is an example of one of these tutors. Although she became a biology tutor because she strives to become a professor one day, Porta was also inspired by her personal experience as a tutee.
“(Going to peer tutoring) was actually another reason why I wanted to become a tutor,” Porta said. “My tutor was so energetic and helpful and really helped me understand the material I was learning in class. I went to tutoring more so for reinforcement, and it was so beneficial to just talk through concepts with someone who had taken the same class before.”
Like Porta, senior nursing student CJ Corsiglia is eager to help fellow students as a peer tutor.
“I started (tutoring) and I loved it,” Corsiglia said. “I’ve had students who pass a tough class and say, ‘I don’t think I could’ve done it if I hadn’t come here.’”
Students often thank Corsiglia for the assistance, but he credits them with taking extra steps to better themselves in the classroom.
“I don’t take credit myself. They took the initiative to come here and go over this information,” Corsiglia said. “I’m just a resource. It’s really up to them to use it, and they should give themselves credit for using that resource.”
Even while working as a tutor, Corsiglia has still attended tutoring sessions as a tutee. He stressed the fact that tutoring isn’t just for students who have fallen behind: it’s also for those who want to stay ahead.
“You don’t have to be failing in order to go. You can just go to review information,” Corsiglia said. “A lot of my students do that now. They come to get ahead of the game…they just come to go over information and ask questions.”
Although the vast majority of students have a positive experience at the Tutoring Center, many students are hesitant to seek help. Clayton encourages students to break the stigma around tutoring.
“College is hard…but that doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself,” Clayton said. “You are not alone. Academic support is not because you don’t understand something or you don’t know something; it’s a part of your learning process.”
Porta also offered words of encouragement for those who feel insecure about attending tutoring sessions.
“Being tutored in college does not have the same negative connotation as it may have had in high school (and) middle school,” Porta said. “At Bellarmine, I have never encountered anyone who has made fun of anybody for going to tutoring.”
Some students are unsure of whether tutoring is for them, but Clayton encourages them to simply give it a shot.
“The good thing about tutoring is you can make it your own,” Clayton said. “Whatever concerns you have can be tailored to what you need. I would just say try it one time and see how it goes.”
Tutoring for many 100- and 200-level courses is free for all undergraduate students. Students may schedule free individual or weekly appointments at bellarmine.edu/studentsuccess/tutoring/scheduled.