Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Alexis Teevens

What We Wish We Knew When We Were First-Years

I wish I knew that asking for help is the best way to show your dedication as a student.

I never went for extra help in high school. I firmly believed that asking my teacher to read over a paper or talk about my ideas before handing in an assignment counted as cheating because I would be using information that wasn’t my own. I thought it showed more skill to work through essays and tests on my own because then any success I experienced would be 100% mine.

But when I came to F&M, I heard professor after professor say, “Come to my office hours” or “See me if you want help on this.” I resisted for a long time, but I finally caved and took a draft of a paper to a professor...but not until the fall of my sophomore year. He pointed out my weaknesses and complimented my strengths, and I realized that talking through my writing is the best way for me to articulate my ideas. And now office hours are a part of my routine. No paper feels ready until someone else has looked at it.

And office hours have really changed how I’ve approached my whole college experience. I’ve taken advantage of research opportunities and internships that I never would have pursued on my own. I’ve made connections with other students and faculty that have helped me grow and develop. None of those things would have happened if I hadn’t become an office hour regular. I only wish I hadn’t waited a year to figure that out. 

  • Alexis Teevens