Studious Students and Study Buddies

Ella Lilly, Staff Writer

Algebra, physics, biology, and chemistry are common sources of struggle for LASA students, according to parent Suparna Roy. There are resources available like office hours, tutoring, and help from friends, but members of the Parents and Friends of LASA (PFLASA) group have put together another way to work through problems: after school study groups in the library. 

The study groups take place three times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4-6 p.m. in the library. While these study groups have been going on for a couple years now, students might be unaware of the specific benefits these groups provide, according to Roy. With study group leaders who are considered experts in their field by Roy, students can attend after school groups in the library where they can ask questions, work through problems, and study for tests in their more difficult classes.

University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) student Tony Lee, who is a LASA Class of 2020 graduate, now helps lead the physics study group. He provides insight to the groups and why students should take advantage of them.

“We’ve got algebra, physics, biology, and chemistry,” Lee said. “If you’re in any of those courses, any level, you can just come ask questions, get help with homework, study for a test, kind of an office hours deal.”

Roy co-founded the groups a couple years ago as part of PFLASA. When office hours started becoming overwhelming for students, Roy set out with the goal to provide less formal help and additional resources for students.

“This was mainly set up about four years ago to help students have some informal help especially from folks that are almost peers but have a little more experience in those subjects, especially as LASA kids sometimes hesitate,” Roy said. “So this is a good way in an informal environment to go and just get some help, ask a question, or get a discussion going. And also maybe just sit in or just use that time to do homework.”

Students attending the study groups said they find them beneficial. Junior Kayla Lassiter started attending the physics study group in September and has found it useful to work through physics problems and have office hours that fit better with her schedule.

“It’s been very helpful so far,” Lassiter said. “I don’t have time to go in the mornings for office hours, and office hours for my teachers are usually twice a week, but this is three times a week, so I find it a little bit more accessible.”

Study group leader and UT Austin student Paris Hookham said that differing from office hours that teachers hold during lunch or after school, the study groups are collaborative and void of pressure. Hookham explained the benefits of learning from someone other than the course teacher and the comfort that comes with a study group leader.

“I think learning from people who aren’t your teacher and who know what they’re doing can be really helpful because there’s not that the fear that like, ‘Oh, my teacher is gonna think I’m dumb if I come to them,’” Hookham said. “You get that third party to come in and help.” 

She added that the close ages between leaders and students can contribute to student’s understanding of the content. Hookham said that since study group leaders might have learned the content more recently, they can work through problems in a way that might be more helpful than what students are getting from their teachers in class.

“It’s a lot easier for us to help you all because we can kind of relate with y’all that better than your teachers can,” Hookham said.

Study group leader Aja Procita also leads math and physics study groups. She explained why going to study groups just a couple times can steer students in the right direction.

“Sometimes you’ve just missed that one thing when you’re sitting in class for whatever reason your brain dips out for just a second, and now suddenly, you’re lost,” Procita said. “Some people just need to be pointed back in the right direction. Sometimes it’s nice just having someone there to give you the confidence to know each step you’re doing is correct.”

Another benefit is the amount of flexibility provided by the study groups, which Lee agreed with. The flexibility allows students to learn either alone or in groups depending on what they want to achieve from the groups.

“There’s a lot of group work,” Lee said. “People often come with friends, which is encouraged. You can work on homework together, brainstorm, and then there’s also the people who come alone, which is completely fine.”

Lee says that he wishes he had attended the study groups at his time at LASA. He sees many benefits of going and thinks they are overall accessible and helpful.

“I didn’t go, but I wish I did because they’re really helpful,” Lee said. “I’m a little biased, but it’s some extra time to get more individual help with schoolwork, compared to class where there’s 20 other kids.”

According to Procita, the study groups should be a great source of additional help with finals coming up. Study group leaders and students all agreed that they are a great option for those struggling in class who want a place to do homework and extra help with comprehension. 

“It’s very dynamic, there’s a lot of benefits,” Procita said. “Overall, it’s a good way to check your understanding, improve your understanding, and ask any additional follow up questions that you might have.”

The study groups will continue during the spring semester in the library. Students meet after school Tuesday through Thursday to get help on work or review material. Students do not need to sign up ahead of time to go to the study groups.