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Thursday, October 06, 2022

Libraries and tutoring services set to help incoming freshmen

UF libraries and tutoring services like Study Edge and Knack are used by current students to help them excel at the university.

As Summer B students swarm the swamp, resources ranging from expansive libraries to curated study guides await them. 

Maisa Mirza, a 21-year-old UF information systems senior, is heavily involved with Study Edge, a study resource that creates packets and lectures for UF courses. She first used Study Edge her freshman year for her microeconomics class in Spring 2020 and worked as a Study Edge student assistant in Spring 2022. 

Mirza said Study Edge helps her understand concepts she didn’t grasp in professors’ lectures. Oftentimes she feels the concepts are taught too broadly to students, she said.

“In terms of actually succeeding in the course, I feel like Study Edge does a better job,” Mirza said.

Mirza also turns to Knack, a free tutoring service partnered with UF, when she needs a more in-depth explanation for concepts in her courses. She values the discussion-based strategy it employs and appreciates the wide range of courses the tutoring service offers. Knack normally costs $12 per hour, but UF gives students free access.

Incoming students should watch every class lecture and change their study habits to suit the intense college course load, Mirza said.

“This [college] is ultimately what's going to help you in your career, so take it seriously,” Mirza said. 

Mirza also frequents UF’s libraries and often uses study rooms to enhance her learning.

It’s beneficial to leave her dorm and study in a different environment, she said, and the presence of other students motivates her to work harder.

UF’s main campus contains seven libraries, including Marston Library, Library West, Library East and the Education Library, with study rooms and subject librarians for extra assistance as well as outside tutoring programs.

Multiple UF libraries allow different volumes according to floor level; the lowest floors are typically filled with more collaborative group conversation while higher floors are meant for silent studying. 

Libraries also provide study rooms for students to work in a group with monitors and whiteboards without disrupting others. 

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Mirza tries to book study rooms up to a week in advance to ensure she has a space to focus outside of her dorm.

She feels that the library environment changes around exam time. Most libraries reach max capacity early in the day as students swarm in to catch seats and claim tables. 

“I might as well just stay in my dorm and just study for my exams that way,” Mirza said.

April Hines, the librarian for UF College of Journalism and Communications, teaches students how to find information in the school’s library system and helps them with one-on-one research consultations. 

Libraries lessen the number of distractions for students and make it easier for them to get work done, Hines said. The space puts students in an environment where they are surrounded by others who are hard at work, and their productivity is not interrupted, Hines said.

Subject librarians are one of the most important resources George A. Smathers Libraries provide, Hines said. These librarians, she added, have expert knowledge in how to find information for their discipline.

“The sooner you make friends with your subject librarian, the better,” Hines said.

She sees students who frequently visit her for help with their projects. She held hour-long consultations with 77 students from May 2021 to May 2022, not including emails, phone calls and Twitter messages.

Libraries act as a third study space outside of classrooms and students’ apartments, Hines added.

“We've had students tell us they spend more time here than their apartments,” she said.

Contact Kyle Bumpers at kbumpers@Alligator.org. Follow his Twitter @BumpersKyle.

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Kyle Bumpers

Kyle Bumpers is a fourth-year journalism major with a specialization in sports and media. He is the Gators men's tennis beat reporter for The Alligator. When off the clock, he watches too many movies and writes too many Letterboxd reviews.


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