It is a truth universally acknowledged that a freshman in possession of a syllabus will just not read it. As the school year kicks off and I find myself in another GE class, it apparently needs to be said that asking what building the final is in on the first day is not the best use of everyone’s time. Instead, try these alternatives:
- Write down Your questions BUT WAIT UNTIL THE CLASS IS OVER TO ASK
This tip mostly goes for zero week and week one, but your question will probably be answered by the syllabus or the TA, so take a pause. Additionally, there is usually time allocated for questions at the end of each class. Have no fear, you won’t die if you don’t know the format of the midterm right away.
- Listen to other people’s questions
When you have a question, especially a pressing one, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and not really hear classmates’ questions. However, if you ask the same question that was just answered not even thirty seconds ago, you should just drop the class. I’m mostly kidding, but active listening is always important!
- Get a classmate’s contact information
This point person doesn’t have to be your best friend, but it’s helpful to have someone in your classes to complain to. It’s also useful when you have no idea what’s going on, and you have a lab due in two hours and need someone to make it make sense. Let’s all start the year off by supporting one another.
- Talk to your TA, or another one
It’s no secret that not every TA is the most helpful resource, so you may need to look to other TAs for the class when you need help. First, though, just ask your TA. Interrupting a discussion is different from a three-hour, three hundred-person lecture, so those sections are good times to ask questions.
I know that these seem like cliche tips to suggest, but you don’t want to be that person that asks a personal question in the middle of a huge lecture. Especially at big schools like UCLA, it can be intimidating to ask for help because it seems like everyone knows what they’re doing. But they don’t. Just ask, because five other people probably have a similar question and maybe you just saved them from having to raise their hands. As long as you’re polite and time it right, fearlessly proceed with those inquiries!