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He's Been There
After being tutored as a freshman, Shane Johannsen now helps his classmates in the Tutoring Center.
By October, schoolwork is picking up for students. Many find their stress levels rising and their grades falling, feeling helpless to do anything about it. Biology student Shane Johannsen felt this way when he was in the thick of his first semester at UMD.
“My freshman year, fall semester, I took Calc II, which is a really hard class coming in as a freshman, so I was always in the Tutoring Center, like almost every single day,” says Shane, now a junior. “At first, I kind of thought, ‘This is embarrassing. If you’re a good student, you shouldn’t be going,’” he explains, echoing the fears of many students.
Fortunately, Shane gained a new perspective. “Well, after going to the Tutoring Center and having such a good experience, and getting a good grade from the work I was putting into it, I realized that it really doesn’t matter whether you think, ‘Oh, this is making me look dumb.’ It’s not.” He goes on, “I still use the Tutoring Center. I encourage people to step out of that barrier and get help. They should not be ashamed or feel embarrassed.”
More Than Academics
Visiting the Tutoring Center not only allowed Shane to succeed academically, but it gave him friends and job opportunities, too. “I met a couple tutors who are still my buddies to this day,” he says. “I asked them how to become part of the tutoring team, and they showed me where the applications are and how to apply. This will be my fourth semester tutoring. I used to tutor in math, but now I’m tutoring physics, so I have a little jump there, which is going to be exciting.”
Shane is not the only dedicated student working at the Tutoring Center. “The tutoring team covers pretty much every subject that you can think of, and whatever class you’re taking, someone can help you.” Students of all kinds come in for help, he says, “Very diverse, all different years, different backgrounds, different races, different religions.”
Just as there is a range of students coming into the Tutoring Center, they all need help in different ways, too. “There are some people who are really confident in what they’re doing and some people that are frustrated with how the class is going or how their coursework is going. Sometimes there are even foreign students with different backgrounds and language barriers,” Shane explains. “Obviously, everyone’s there for the same reason. They’re trying to figure something out.”
Along with working in the Tutoring Center, Shane is also involved on campus. “I’m the treasurer for the Pre-Med club, I do research on campus in a bioacoustics lab, and I like to play a lot of intramurals, like broomball and soccer and stuff like that.”
Claudia Martin, the coordinator for the Tutoring Center, helped Shane find some unique jobs in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He elaborates, “I started grading, and I started working alongside one professor, Rachel Breckenridge, and eventually began hosting math camps. This past summer, I did a STEM camp, which was really cool and interesting. The STEM camp was specifically for incoming freshman, and I really liked it because it was for underrepresented students, too. It’s really good to do what I like to do and then give back and have a sense of helping in something that I’m good at.”
About the Tutoring Center
The Tutoring Center is part of the Securian Learning Commons found on the second floor of UMD’s Kathryn A. Martin Library. It is free and open to all students who need to drop in and receive help on their schoolwork, no matter the level of difficulty.
Be sure check out the Tutoring Center website for more information and their weekly hours.