So you’ve decided to enroll at Brooklyn College. Congratulations and welcome. Brooklyn is one of the best education values around, often referred to as the poor man’s Harvard. Your classmates comprise one of the most diverse student bodies in New York, and that’s saying a lot.
That said, you face a lot of challenges as a Brooklyn College student. Your tuition is extremely low, especially for a New York City education, but the funding for school services is also minimal. Classroom desks are usually small, plastic chairs with little attached plywood writing surfaces. “Smart classrooms,” which have computers and projector controls built into the lecturer’s podium, often malfunction, and the supposedly always available IT technical staff can be hard to contact.
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However, the lecturers are often Ivy League-educated, and Brooklyn College boasts one of the highest numbers of Ph.D.’s teaching. While the professors may sometimes appear disgruntled, it’s not with the students, but on the students’ behalf. Most of these dedicated teachers will always go above and beyond to make sure that all dedicated students get the education they need, whether by scheduling extra optional classes for anyone who needs more time with their professors or just bringing their own chalk and markers for writing on the constantly depleted blackboards and whiteboards.
If you don’t feel that you’re earning the grade you want, take advantage of asking your professor for help. They are more willing to create extra credit opportunities, or extra tutoring time, than anyone else I know.
But some of the professors have quirky personalities that not everyone can appreciate. If you simply don’t want to spend any extra time with some particular teacher, but you still feel like you’re behind, try the Learning Center on the ground floor of Boylan Hall. Always packed with undergraduates and peer, tutors, the Learning Center is also packed with core course lessons, reference manuals, tutorial applications and extra computers that are loaded with specialized learning software.
Those extra computers are a valuable resource too. At any given time, there are many more students on campus than there are computer workstations for people who want to do research or to print homework, and printouts for undergraduates are limited to 300 pages per semester.
If you simply have to have a computer without waiting in line, your best bet is to trek the extra block to the West End Building, behind the new West Quad. The West End holds the largest computer lab on campus, is easily the ugliest building. Maybe its homeliness is the reason that the West End Building is so often ignored, but after two and a half years of attendance, I’ve seen the West End lab the lab full only once-when the rest of the campus lost Internet service for most of the day (yes, that happened).
If you want to work from your own laptop, Brooklyn College does offer free wireless service for students, and the West End Building’s computer lab is where you’ll go to set up your access. Bring your laptop, schedule for at least half an hour of waiting time, and remember that the technicians helping you are often student workers, earning little more than minimum wage, so treat them the way you would like to be treated.