I remember my first few weeks at the University of Worcester well. Everything felt a little bit different, I felt a little unsure and still nervous. Then I got an email asking me to book an appointment for my first tutorial. Many different thoughts were going through my mind. I had a general feeling of uneasiness and like I didn’t really want to go…
Why do I need a tutorial?
At the time, I didn’t understand why I needed a tutorial so early on. I wasn’t sure I had anything to be tutored on. I didn’t know the person who had emailed me and didn’t feel like I had any unanswered questions.
Is there a problem?
Then I convinced myself there must be a problem. Maybe I had done something wrong? Or there was an issue with one of my modules?
Will I like my Personal Academic tutor and will they like me?
What if my personal academic tutor resembled ‘Trunchball’ from Matilda? Or maybe we just didn’t click. If I was going to have regular meetings with this person I wanted to get along with them.
Do I really need to go and what benefit will it bring to me?
And anyway, what was the point of a personal academic tutor? Why did I need to go? I already saw lecturers most days who could answer any questions I had about assignments. What was the point of all this?
What is a tutorial?
It turns out that a tutorial is a short 10-15-minute chat with your personal academic tutor. Personal academic tutors are allocated when you first start uni and are from the subject area you are studying. You keep the same personal academic tutor throughout your time at university, so there is always someone to contact if you have any issues.
Well how wrong could I have been?
The first meeting turned into a series of regular meetings throughout my time at university. It turns out that going to that first meeting was one of the most useful things I did throughout my whole time at University and here’s why:
- When I was coming to the end of my time at university, I needed to ask someone to write me a reference for applications to jobs, graduate schemes and further study. Because I had made best use of my personal tutorials, my tutor knew me well and was able to write a more detailed reference helping me to secure the opportunities I was seeking.
- During my third year I was interested in taking a Work Project Module instead of a normal tutored module. I wasn’t sure about this. After some advice from my personal tutor, I pursued this option. It resulted in my name being published in a journal crediting me for the research I had completed during the work placements.
- In my second summer break, I was involved in an accident. I returned to university as normal thinking I would just carry on as I didn’t want to delay graduating. It was a real struggle. The support of my personal tutor was invaluable. She helped me with strategies to meet deadlines despite the ongoing issues I was facing and also helped me arrange an extension to some of my deadlines. Without this, I am not sure I would have completed the semester and my final grading on my degree could have been very different.
So, make sure you make use of the time you have with your personal tutor. I did and feel that I made a real difference to my time at university.