My secret to student success

Coming into college as a timid freshman, my classrooms were entirely virtual. I logged into Zoom, fell back to sleep and woke up right on time to hear the professor say, “Any questions?” Sometimes, I woke up to find myself in the Zoom alone with the professor. Awkward moment. 

Entering my sophomore year, I finally had face-to-face interaction with my peers — a masked-up face, that is. I had to guess if my classmates were actually cute or if I was being mask-fished; the day the ban was lifted, I was shook. It was like an episode of the masked singer.

Prior to the day we saw each other’s faces for the first time, I thought I was a social butterfly. As soon as we looked at new, real human faces I lost a bone of my extraverted-self. I forgot how to act.

I barely chatted with my classmates around me, I didn’t dare raise my hand to ask a question, I simply tried to blend in with the walls. I didn’t create connections with my peers and professors, and I completely focused on my life outside of MSU’s campus. 

After entering my junior year of college, I had enough. I wanted to make the most of an in-person class, something I was deprived of for nearly two years. So I challenged myself to an attainable goal of raising my hand once per every class period. 

I stuck to it. Through groggy eyes during my 8 a.m. classes, I pushed my hand through the air at least once. Over time, I grew more confident in my responses. My professors remembered me and recognized my face in the sea of students lapping the hallways. 

As I’ve sat in a number of classes through the years, I find many students share the same socially anxious habits I had. I notice a lot of silence when professors hope for discussion and I see a complete lack of engagement in material. By doing this one, simple step, it can completely change a classroom dynamic. There is strength in numbers in any case scenario, and if you are the initial person to spark a conversation, more will join right in. 

My graduation is now only a week away and this miniscule hack of raising my hand in class has opened more doors than I ever thought. I’ve built relationships with fellow classmates and professors and gained valuable sources for networking. Most importantly, I came out of my cocoon and became a social butterfly once again. 

If there is one secret I could spill to any undergrad, this is it. Take my advice and raise your hand in class; your professors appreciate it more than you know.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Raising a hand during class times is an excellent way to succeed in school. (Courtesy Flickr)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.