Coming into such a huge and spread out area like the University campus can be very intimidating, particularly as minority students on campus. If you come from a school where the students were primarily Latinx like many of us, it can be especially hard adjusting to how different life is on campus. On top of that, having challenging classes, adjusting socially, and making new friends can be difficult too. However, it doesn’t have to be. On-campus, settled quietly in the hustle of campus, is the Office of Minority Students. OMSA, for short, has been an excellent resource for many minority students on campus. OMSA offers a wide range of resources for students to utilize, described and listed below for you to look through.
Free Tutoring- OMSA offers free tutoring in a couple of forms. One of them is the TutorTrac system, which matches you with a tutor that you are then able to meet up with. They also offer drop-in hours for specific classes, mostly math, chemistry, and physics courses. They provide tutors for up to fifty classes, including foreign language classes! This is an excellent resource for new students, as it enforces the idea that it’s okay to ask for help, while also benefiting you in whichever class you may need help in.
Advising- OMSA offers a graduate mentoring where students are assigned to a graduate student willing to help them with almost any problem that may arise from college life. If you are not assigned a graduate mentor, you can make an appointment to see one online. (Appointments may have changed or be limited due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but still a useful resource.)
Workshops- It’s never a bad idea to improve the skills you already have or develop new skills. OMSA makes it easy to do this while also meeting other students through workshops. They offer workshops on time management, note-taking skills, test-taking strategies, and more! They also have a platform with interactive workshops online covering academic, personal, financial, and career issues that you might encounter.
For us as minorities on campus, the problem is often that students either don’t know where to look for support, feel embarrassed to ask for help, or feel that they will be shamed for asking for help. Nobody at OMSA will shame you for asking for additional assistance, and no one should be ashamed to do so. In fact, asking for help should be seen as a sign of strength, because no one should have to shoulder the burden of being a person of color in a predominantly white institution alone. This article is to inform you that OMSA is there to help provide you with a support system on campus. You just have to reach out and ask for help.
Location: 610 E John St, Champaign, IL 61820 (130 Turner Student Services Building)
Phone number: (217) 333-0054