On November 9, 2020, Logos Associate and Adjunct Instructor at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science offered her advice on how to be a better college and university student for an article in Human Window. The article quoted professors across a range of disciplines on their advice to students today. Helstrom’s advice: build strategic relationships with your professors.
“A common mistake is for students to fail to engage with their professors in any meaningful way beyond class time… and sometimes not even in class! Not only are professors highly educated people, they oftentimes have relevant professional experience and the robust network to go along with it,” said Helstrom. “Professors can become valuable mentors and networking partners who could be especially helpful in helping you get a plum internship position, your first job, or into the masters program of your choice. But these competitive advantages can only be created by putting in the time and effort to cultivate these relationships.”
In the article, Helstrom also noted the importance of participation for college students: “Participate in class – no, really. Give yourself the goal of asking at least one meaningful question or making one valuable contribution per class. It is so easy to zone out, especially during Zoom classes where most students are muted with cameras off, which is a waste of your time and tuition money! Do the readings, pay attention, and come prepared to have a discussion. It makes the learning experience so much more effective, and fun.”
She also advised on how to stay organized as a college student: “It is all too easy to receive your syllabi at the start of the semester, only to leave them crumpled up in the bottom of your desk drawer, then show up to class one day completely unprepared for an exam! To save yourself from this last-minute avoidable panic, get yourself a desk calendar – one that you can hang on a wall – and write down all your exam and project deadline dates for the semester on the calendar.”