Utilizing the Peer Learning Center

Every year, new students tour Northwestern’s campus, both on Raider Days and RED101 Days (something I HIGHLY encourage all prospective students to do!). Each student meets one of the Northwestern’s admissions ambassadors for a tour of campus. The ambassadors show and describe the ins and outs of what to expect in each building. Students are introduced to facilities such as the cafeteria, dorms, music hall, gymnasium and more. While every building on campus is an important asset to NW, one that holds a special place for me is the Learning Commons, and more specifically, the Peer Learning Center inside.

When I visited as a freshman, the ambassador showing me and my family around brought us to the Peer Learning Center (a center for students to receive feedback or assistance in certain subjects from their peers). This place is better known as the PLC and is found in a corner of the library. As I was introduced to the PLC, the ambassador mentioned it was a place for students to come and be tutored in all subjects by other students. There are sections for science, writing, math, foreign language, computer science, accounting and many more. Within each field of study, there are multiple students ready to tutor who have taken many courses within their assigned section. These students are typically majoring or minoring in the field they tutor.

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I remember thinking, “I will never be a tutor. No way will I be qualified enough to tutor, nor will I need to be tutored.” That statement became very wrong my first semester on campus. I found myself visiting the center quite often for help on papers, journals, essays, scholarship essays, and more. I went to the center each night seeking help in my English courses, and there was always a tutor waiting with a smile, excited to take a look at what I was working on. Something I came to appreciate about the PLC tutors is that a good majority of them are willing to meet outside of the PLC hours. When I met with a tutor, I would always walk into a session thinking there wouldn’t be too much for me to fix but would leave with a couple pages worth of very helpful notes that later ended up helping me receive the grades I was looking to see. After a semester of visiting the center, I ended up taking a writing course the second semester of my freshman year. In order to complete the class, I had to tutor for one semester.  

Working in the PLC for one semester, while terrifying at first, brought me so much joy. Not only did I learn a lot about editing different styles of papers, but I also met so many students. It was a good experience and allowed me to connect with others from outside my major who I might have never met. Being a tutor taught me how excited I truly am about being a writing major as well as helped shed light on my newest passion of editing.

At first glance, the PLC can be intimidating, but don’t be afraid of using it. The ambassadors here at NW are always telling visitors that even the brightest students with all As in their classes still utilize the PLC because there’s always room for academic growth. Many qualified students are chosen to help enhance their peers’ college education. Utilize the PLC as much as possible during your time here at NW.  Who knows, maybe you’ll end up tutoring others by your second semester of freshman year and find it to be a comfy niche the remainder of your time here on campus.