Let me start with a story:
Dave was a practical young man. He’d known he was going to be a machinist ever since, at the age of eight, he saw “The Machinist,” that film where Christian Bale falls in love with a prostitute. Dave was now in his second semester of SMCC’s Precision Machining & Manufacturing program, and so far college had been going like a well-oiled bore-head into a block of brass.
That is, until he stepped into Professor Nagle’s Intro to Lit class. Suddenly he was being asked to write a 12-page analysis of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”
The only thing Dave hated more than poetry was writing essays about it. An all-American kid of good character and blue-collar values, he had a healthy disdain for the liberal arts, artists, and liberals. But he knew he couldn’t afford to fail this course.
He just had no earthly idea how he’d tackle Prufrock. He’d already spent three hours on the lousy essay, and all he had to show for it was a page of disorganized garbage. In desperation, Dave swallowed his pride and showed up one day at the Writing Center in the SMCC Learning Commons (second-floor Campus Center, South Portland campus).
He was assigned a writing tutor named Yasmin. And he was skeptical at first: she was his age, and English wasn’t even her first language; how could she help him? But sure enough, thirty minutes later, she had. He emerged from that first session with a solid outline, a spring in his step, and — could it be? — the first smoldering of love in his heart.
Professor Nagle ended up awarding Dave’s Prufrock essay a B-, but what SMCC’s tutoring services ultimately gave Dave was priceless: in Yasmin, he found both the love of his life (they recently had their second child, Abdul Rashid) and a path to salvation in Allah.
This story is completely made up; Dave, Yasmin and Professor Nagle are all fictional. But SMCC tutoring services are the real deal.
At the Learning Commons on either campus, you can get help with everything from math homework to research-paper citations. Tutors are a mix of staff volunteers, paid students and professionals, including specialists in English as a second language. Some concentrate on a subject, like algebra, physics or accounting. The folks at the Writing Center do just what you’d expect. (No, I don’t mean fall in love with you.)
Nearly 1,000 SMCC students used tutoring services last semester, according to unpublished Learning Commons data. They made over 4,740 logged visits.
Maybe the stats don’t surprise you. But you might not know that some departments, like Microbiology and Communications–New Media, have their own tutors posted in different locations on campus; or that SMCC lets you access free tutoring online, 24/7, through Pearson SmarThinking.
Get the details on all that and more by visiting http://smccme.libguides.com/tutoring/. (This page can also be found under MyLearning on the school portal.)
And if you’re feeling stuck with schoolwork, don’t be shy; drop in at the Commons sometime. It’s worth it — even if your tutor doesn’t wind up being your soul mate.
By Ben Riggleman