At some point or another, you may find yourself having difficulties in one or more of your classes at Princeton. This is nothing to be ashamed of! The courses at Princeton are rigorous, and it’s normal to find them difficult. In particular, the transition from high school to college often requires adjustments, and then the transition to a major and independent work in junior and senior year may present new challenges. Some students learn that the study skills and strategies that worked for them previously are no longer up to the task. You may also struggle when you try a subject that’s new to you or when other circumstances in your life at a particular moment impinge on your ability to succeed academically. Learning is a process of stretching yourself and overcoming adversity, and the only shame is if you don’t seek out the resources that will help you grow by working through the difficulties you face.
Fortunately, there are numerous resources available at Princeton to help you meet the rigors of our curriculum, but it’s up to you to take advantage of them. So, never delay! You may be able to save yourself hours of strain and aggravation simply by taking a few minutes to seek out a helping hand, as many of your peers do. The most successful students at Princeton are the ones who make strategic use of all the resources at their disposal to maximize their performance.
The website Academic Support at Princeton (ASAP) provides a comprehensive list of links to the resources available to you, including study halls, review sessions, writing tutors, and coaching on effective study skills. Dean Stirk and Dr. Lazen can also match you up with peer tutors in particular subjects of concern to you, as well as offering you a wide range of helpful tips. Last but not least, never forget that your professors and preceptors are often your best source of guidance when you are having difficulties with any material in their classes! They know the course materials and expectations better than anyone, and they are there to help you. So, don’t hesitate to visit your instructors during office hours. Office hours are one of the most underutilized resources at universities – much to the regret of the instructors, who are in the teaching profession because they enjoy talking to you and helping you out!