Trent Fullmer is like a lot of students when it comes to math, afraid to ask for help for fear of holding up a class full of people who might already “get it” or anxious about frustrating a teacher who just taught the lesson on how to do exactly what he’s having trouble understanding. Fullmer, 18, a 2018 Kearns High School graduate, has always struggled with math, and when he fell behind last fall in Math 980 in his first semester at Salt Lake Community College, the same fears held him back and he didn’t know where to turn. Sounding “lost” in a big crowd, he says, is scary and paralyzing when it comes to keeping up in math.
The business management major needs mathematics to progress academically, so, for the spring 2019 semester, Fullmer enrolled in Math 900, dialing it back to the basics and connecting him with the Math Success Center as a result. “My experience with The Math Success Center has been excellent so far,” Fullmer says. “It has probably been one of the best math classes I’ve taken. Moving down to 900 as a refresher was definitely a good decision for me, even though the start of it felt extremely easy to me. The way things work starting at 900 is nice since you can move along the stuff you know with a breeze until things start getting complicated, and then you get the chance to go step by step to find exactly what part of the problems you were struggling with.”
Fullmer spends about four hours each week at the Center, located in the Markosian Library on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. The tutors, he says, are “amazing,” there when you need them but not “invasive” when it comes to wanting to work on your own. “I feel a bit more confident in my math abilities, even though I am still forgetful with some things,” he admits. “I at least don’t just give five-minute blank stares on problems anymore. I have help if I need it, and I have the help of trial and error with what works on problems and what doesn’t.” He no longer gives up on assignments or feels as frustrated as he has in the past with math.
“If you are finding yourself not being able to keep up during lectures, piling up homework or your class has gone far ahead and you still don’t understand the content from the last two units, give this class a shot,” Fullmer advises. “This has definitely been much less overwhelming working at my own pace, and it’s not dreadful through every moment of math anymore.” Take deep breaths, he adds, don’t push tutors away out of frustration, continue working at your own pace and “things will be much easier and enjoyable if you remind yourself that.”
The Center is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Students arrive there by referral from instructors or by their own accord. Once they begin using Math Success, students are required to meet once a week with an instructor to evaluate their progress in the program, to set new goals and review the pace at which they’re working. Through Math Success, its instructors and tutors, students are allowed two semesters to work their way through a particularly troublesome level of math. Math Success is a personalized experience that focuses on a student’s strengths and weaknesses while accommodating personal goals and busy schedules.