Mario Salcedo ’17
Sioux Center, Iowa

Seizing opportunities

When searching for colleges, Mario initially wanted to attend a larger university and didn’t even consider Northwestern an option. But as he did more research, he realized a smaller college could actually provide more opportunities. Now, he’s majoring in criminal justice and Spanish translation/interpretation at NWC with a minor in psychology. In addition to tutoring in the college’s Peer Learning Center, he’s also a member of La Mosaic and the International Club, as well as an active participant in intramural sports. After graduation, Mario wants to eventually earn a Ph.D. and work in the United States, Europe or Japan.

The write stuff
When I first started at Northwestern, I would go to the Peer Learning Center to get help on writing papers from English tutors. After a while I saw improvement, stopped making the same mistakes, and asked for help less often. At a liberal arts college like Northwestern, almost every class you take requires you to write papers, and being able to use proper grammar and correct writing style makes a big difference.

Repeat customers
What I really enjoy about being a tutor myself is when students trust me enough to come back for more help— not just before a big test, but when they truly believe I made a difference in their learning and decide to ask for help more often. I like it when someone remembers a lesson I taught them and then brings it up later on, because I know they finally understood something that would have been more difficult to learn without my help.

Room for improvement
Students should remember we are not all the same and nobody is perfect. We all have different strengths and can complement each other. Asking for a tutor is not a sign of weakness or ignorance; it actually means the person is mature enough to admit that someone else can help. Many tutors—and some of the best students—seek tutoring help themselves because they know they can always improve.

Plan ahead
The best advice I can give is a classic: Don’t wait until the last minute. Even taking notes during class and then reviewing them a few days before a test can be more helpful and easier than cramming during an all-nighter. I would also suggest that you ask for help—preferably from a tutor who knows a lot about a specific subject—because it could make a big difference, especially if there’s enough time.