When I Needed a Tutor

The class was called Biopharmaceutics.

The midterm was 50% of the grade the final was 50% of the grade. No points for attendance. No points for participation.

Let’s just say I didn’t do well on the midterm. Pretty poorly, in fact. And for the first time, I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach – am I going to get through this? And how?

The professor offered open office hours. I remember that his office was in the basement and there were 4 of us standing around his desk while he explained the concepts over and over. I left feeling so frustrated that I wasn’t able to grasp these concepts.

So I asked for help. There was a student who always fell asleep in class. Turns out he was a genius and was auditing this class for his PhD program. And he said yes!

In addition to the tutoring, I changed my schedule. I changed how I studied. I changed my approach to learning this type of material. I put my life on hold, as much as I could, in order to pass this class. And I did.

My point is, I see students who are embarrassed to ask for help. I see them comparing themselves to their classmates. I see the fear in their eyes of not passing. In the big scheme of life, we know that a poor grade or even a failed class does not define us forever. But because of my experience, I know exactly what today’s students are feeling like.

Every pharmacist you know, including your professors, have made mistakes. We’ve all had to ask for help. We need to talk about this more with our students.

My advice: ask the sleeping genius student for help. Ask your professors for help. Ask your mentors. Ask your classmates. You are not alone in this journey!

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