Learn from Experience – Tips from the CNM Library Team

Story and Photos by Audrey Callaway Scherer,

senior reporter

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The outside of Jennette Stromberg Library and the SRC.

Members of Main Campus’s library team shared with Chronicle readers tips that stuck with them throughout their academic careers.

Kyanna Facio, student employee

Always seize every opportunity, she said, particularly for scholarships that CNM offers and lists on its website from the Resources and Services tab under Financial Aid. She also said to know when your classes start and save your money.

Manuel DJ Lujan, instructional support technician

You can park anywhere for free after 4:30 p.m., he said, although you still need a free general parking pass.

Parking permits also don’t guarantee that you will have a spot, he said – if you want to be on time to class, give yourself plenty of time to find parking in case lots are full.

Robert Graff, an academic technology support manager

Once you’re in class, take advantage of office hours, he said.

Also, look at CNM for classes needed by UNM. Students can save money by staying at CNM until they must transfer to UNM, he said.

Students have access to free bus passes – all buses, not just to the school, he said.

You can do some things, like getting a parking permit, at all campuses, he added. Looking into this can save time and money by avoiding unnecessary trips.

Oceana Vasquez, a student employee

She said that her biggest recommendation would be to stop by one of the computer labs to get homework done, especially before going home if you’re already on campus for something else. By utilizing all of CNM’s resources, she hasn’t had to do any homework at home since she started, she said.

CNM Degree Works is one of those resources and she recommended using it. By showing students the classes needed for each program, it saves students time and financial aid, she said.

“I wish someone had told me that when I first started, that there was all this stuff available.”

She usually waits to get books for classes until after school starts, in case the teachers don’t need students to buy one of the online suggested books.

And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your professors are there to help you and they really want you to succeed, she said.

Yvette Perez, a math tutor

“Panic early, beat the rush,” she said.

Students will panic toward midterms and finals, but it’s kind of late at that point, she said.

She suggests visiting the tutoring centers at any of CNM’s campuses early and often. Even if you’re not stuck, you can still go to do your homework there. If you have questions, you get past them right away.

Take IT 1010 early, especially since you will have to write papers in most of your classes.

She also recommended taking a college success experience class pretty early, because it will help you build a network of friends and people who have things in common with you – resources, study partners, study groups, etc.

Work as a student employee if eligible, she said. There are a bunch of positions open right now that need filling – if you know anyone who gets financial aid, let them know, too.

It keeps students on campus, in the environment, and they are allowed to do their homework while working, she said. There are tutors readily available and you’re also getting paid.

“You’re in the right place with the right people and it sets you up for success,” she said.

If a student does really well in any subject and has taken some classes, they could get a job as a peer tutor, she added. One doesn’t have to be on financial aid to get that kind of position; there are funds that are allocated for peer tutors separately, she said.

Perla Juarez, student employee

In the library, people can check out reserve books, calculators, laptops, iPads, highlighters, markers for the white boards, colored pencils and Sharpies – a bunch of stuff, all for three hours, she said.

You always need your student ID to access CNM’s library resources, because you can’t check out anything without it – not even a highlighter, she said.

People who are not actual students, graduated or otherwise, may get guest a ID.

Although students may buy or rent books at the bookstore, sometimes the library has those books and it’s cheaper to just come in and check them out, she said. You can even scan them and send the images to your email, so you don’t have to keep returning to the library.

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Inside Jeannette Stromberg Library.

The libraries have study rooms that you can reserve for big study groups or presentations, in addition to printers and copiers and plenty of computers, she said.

The tutoring center also helps people who are struggling with their homework.

“It’s just pretty chill, I think. We’re open and calm, you can always ask questions and we try our best to answer them,” she said.

When it comes to study areas on Main Campus, Juarez indicated the library, the SSC building and its cafeteria, and the adjoined room to the cafeteria, which has couches and chairs, she said. She added the SB building and its computer lab.

“It’s a bigger place, that building is super modern and it’s really nice,” she said. “Open and colorful.”

The L building is more personal because has little study rooms with closing glass doors and cool chairs that are weird and modern, she said. It’s better if you want a quiet space.

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Students occupy study rooms in the L building, while the lobby remains open.

She said that work-study jobs are awesome and if students can, they should try to get one.

It’s easy, especially since you’ve got access to the school while you’re working, she said. When it’s slow, you have the opportunity to do homework, which makes you feel like you can get things done and not feel as much pressure since your classroom is right there.

As a final note to students, she said that it’s not too bad and that school gets easier.

“At first it was really difficult to adjust to the difference of how much more homework you have and responsibility, but I think you just kind of get used to it,” she said.

Brahm Woody, an instructional technician

Students receiving financial aid should stay on top of their credit hours, he said. Taking 12 credit hours each term can eat up one’s available aid, although there is an appeal process that students may use to apply for more.

Students should also keep two programs in mind, he said. Taking classes that feed into two programs can prevent you from running out of financial aid by switching mid-program.

“It’s good to keep an open mind as far as where you want to go. Because destiny changes,” he said.

He recommends that students visit Academic Advisors just to make sure they’re still where they need to be, and to not stop at one – if you get advice that discourages you or isn’t what you wanted it to be, go see somebody else and get a different perspective, he said.

It’s also possible that one advisor may know something that the last person did not, he said.

“Definitely seek advisement. Even if you don’t think you need it, it’s recommended,” he said.

If you take advantage of office hours, come prepared with questions, he said. Have a goal in mind or prepared questions that they’ll be ready to answer. You only have a certain amount of time and don’t want to spend more of it fishing for what you need than getting what you need.

And don’t blow up your teachers’ email, he said. There’s a limit to where it could be excessive.

Stay on target with your program, but to unwind take a fun class, such as art or music.

“Stay sane. Because all work and no play will drive anyone nuts…you’ll end up like Nicholson in The Shining,” he said.

Don’t take too many classes, he said. Overworking can have a physical impact on you as well as mental, and he has seen people crash and burn by trying to take too many credit hours.

And do you keep any of that? he asked. You must memorize a massive amount of material in a short amount of time and will be lucky to keep a quarter of it – unless you stay on top of it.

When it comes to buying textbooks, look at their values and ask yourself a few questions – one may be cool for reference, but are you really going to reference it? Is it really something you’ll look at in five years? Would it be more worth it to rent it for a fraction of the price? Do you really need the physical copy?

Finally, take parking tickets seriously, he said – if you haven’t purchased a permit in a general lot and decide to park across the street, make sure to park according to the road signs.

“They will ticket you – it’s not if, it’s when,” he said.

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