The Discussion Section
When I was coming to Illinois, the scariest thing to me was huge lecture halls. Who could blame me when I was used to a classroom that had a maximum of 25 students in high school? But what if I told you that you still get that in college …
During your first year or two at Illinois, you will be taking “General Education” requirements, commonly known as “Gen Eds.” These are requirements for your degree and make you more of a well-rounded student through learning about things and topics outside of your major. A lot of these classes with be introductory classes such as Introduction to Psychology. A lot of students are interested in this class so they have this class in a large auditorium where there can be hundreds of people.
But don’t be scared of the number of people you will see in this lecture. They’re all feeling the same as you and are in the same position.
You will be in those large lectures two days a week, while the third class that week, you meet in a small group setting more like what you’re used to in high school. You will be with about twenty kids and a teaching assistant. This is what’s known as a discussion section.
A discussion section is a time to ask your teaching assistant questions because they’re an expert in everything that is taught by the professor or lecturer. People like me are more comfortable asking questions in this familiar setting.
I have found I learn a ton in discussion sections and actually became great friends with people in my discussion sections. You’re able to have an engaging discussion and learn more about the information that was presented in lecture.
So don’t be scared of those big lecture halls because the world becomes very small when you become engaged with what you’re learning, and that could not be more truth than in discussion sections!