Editor's Note: This is part 18 in the Iowa State Daily’s “Speaking Success” series.
This week's Academic Success Center tips
My name is Jenna Tolle and I am a Peer Coach for the Academic Success Center. I am a senior here at Iowa State majoring in marketing and business analytics with a minor in accounting. This week we want to feature Supplemental Instruction or SI. SI is a great resource that countless students use throughout the year. It allows for a better understanding of courses and allows students to experience peer-facilitated learning with other students and the student SI leader.
SI is completely free and voluntary. Courses that have an available SI course offer three SI sessions per week. In these sessions, the student SI leaders will go through practice problems, answer questions and create an environment that helps students get hands-on practice in learning course material. The SI leader also sits in on the lecture and has a relationship with the professor to better benefit the other students attending the session.
To find a list of the courses that offer SI sessions you can go to the Academic Success Center website and go to SI schedule. This will show you a list of courses, the instruction and the SI leader. Once you click into a specific course you will have access to any worksheets the SI leader posts, their email and any other information that they want students to know.
SI is such a great resource that students have access to. I would recommend looking at the SI schedule and seeing if any of your courses have an SI Session. If it does, I would recommend trying a session out. Students who participate in SI once per week, average nearly a whole letter grade higher than those who don’t. I would say that is worth it!
This week's adviser is Elizabeth Zimmerman, she/her/hers, who is originally from Ames, IA.
How would you introduce yourself?
My name is Elizabeth and I have been an academic adviser at ISU for the past 10 years. I’m from Ames and went to ISU as an undergraduate (English major) and graduate (interdisciplinary studies) student. So, I’ve really been at ISU my whole life. As a graduate student I helped teach several courses, notably Music 304 Rock ‘n Roll History. I am also a professional musician, a singer-songwriter and have been performing and writing music since high school.
How many years have you worked at Iowa State?
Nearly 10 years in my current role, but if you count other positions while I was an undergraduate and graduate student that makes it 14 non-consecutive years.
Why did you choose Iowa State?
Being from Ames and with parents who worked at ISU, it made sense to me to choose to go to school at ISU. I wanted to be close to home and also loved the atmosphere of campus. That feeling never went away. I discovered Academic Advising as a student and I seized many opportunities to work in Student Services offices which eventually led me to my current role.
How would you explain your job to someone who doesn’t know what it is?
I think of myself as a guide for students—someone who understands the processes and rules, who knows about and connects students to resources, who helps students stay on track for graduation by choosing appropriate courses, who can guide and advise a student about what to do next in many situations.
What is something you never thought you would do in your job?
I never thought I would supervise students, but I’ve been lucky enough to have hired many students over the years mostly as peer mentors, but also orientation assistants and ambassadors.
What is something you want people to know about your job?
Advisers do LOTS of different things, we don’t just help students register for courses. We teach, we coordinate events, we talk to prospective students and families. We are problem-solvers, planners and option-providers. We comfort students in distress, we help them find career paths or internships, we celebrate good grades, we share in the excitement for an upcoming study abroad experience, we talk some and listen a lot.
What is something you want your advisees to know about your job?
YOU are the reason I work. My job is to support you. And I love it. When I see you persevere, succeed, get excited about your field of study, struggle and then work harder to pass that tough class, graduate…this is why I do what I do.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Students, of course. Talking with students, helping them plan their courses, watching them grow.
What advice do you have for students?
Challenge yourself and be flexible. If you are open to new ideas, new experiences and get outside of your comfort zone…even just a little…the rewards are so great. Travel, meet new people, try new food, learn a new skill just because. And know that your plans will change. They really will. And all the time, probably. Being OK with change and being able to adapt (which takes practice and time!) will make your life so much less stressful.
What hobbies do you have?
Like I said before, I am a musician, so I am often playing piano and singing or composing. I also love art, board games, film, being in nature, eating and traveling.
Do you have any pets or a favorite animal?
I don’t have pets, but I love animals. Especially birds. I am a birdwatcher.
What is your zodiac sign and what do you think it says about you?
Gemini. My sign is supposedly curious, expressive and adaptable. I think that’s true about me. I am also a social introvert, which seems to fit the “split personality” of a Gemini.
Favorite place to eat, hangout, or work beyond campus?
India Palace is my favorite restaurant. And Little Woods Herbs and Tea on Main Street is my favorite place.
First word that comes to mind to describe yourself? Explain?
Imaginative. I’m always creating—music, poetry, stories, art—and I am always daydreaming.