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Anyone who’s attended a college or university is no stranger to running from class to class, with a backpack full of books and little time to spare. The stress of college weighs deeply in a balancing act between attending a hefty schedule of classes, staying on schedule with assignment due dates, attempting to keep that GPA above a 3.0, and for many, working a part-time job on top of it all.

A large majority of college students become overwhelmed when their courses and assignments begin to pile up. There comes a time in every semester when the workload becomes overbearing and students fear their inability to learn course materials and earn a passing grade. The hard truth is that too many college students aren’t using their resources wisely, even though they have plenty of opportunities to. Ditch the idea that the library is only for nerds, and use this resource to your advantage– trust me, your GPA will thank you.

Many students attending colleges and universities across the nation forget about the array of  resources that are at their disposal. Beyond renting books, the library is a tool for printing classwork (most times free of charge), a space for meeting with other students in your courses to complete assignments and study, access to online databases, and more.

Most colleges and universities have writing centers and tutoring centers that serve as the perfect source for assistance just when students need it. Here’s a fun fact: there are students at your school that have already taken and passed the same course you are struggling with. The library is a resource booming with other students who know the material and are there to offer their help. Whether it’s writing assistance for that term paper or embarking on a research assignment for a bibliography that requires heavy annotation, the library can be a saving grace. This is practically an inside, free source for college students– your easy guide to getting an A in a class you thought you might fail.

Perhaps you’re not a slacking college student. Maybe you’re excelling in a course. You can pick up extra cash simply by signing up to be a tutor and helping others in courses that you’ve already passed. While most tutoring centers have certain requirements, if you received an A in a college course, you’re likely to be hired as a tutor for that course.

At this point, you might be experiencing an “ah-ha” moment. The library is a free educational key that will open the door to successfully earning your degree. You’re not the only one that forgot to use the library. Even some professors and teachers tend to forget that the library and its vast assets of knowledge is there for free use. Other professors that know of the library and its useful tools have begun to encourage their students to use the actual librarians as resources as well as recommend specific library resources in their reading lists. Some even require students to take part in information literacy sessions, where they can learn how to identify a research topic; finding, selecting, and citing sources; and how to avoid plagiarism.

Another large reason students should use the library more often is because it’s the perfect meeting space. Colleges and universities are aware of the many hours students need to spend working on group projects and presentations together. Many colleges have designated meeting rooms for students to use freely.

On the contrary, if you simply need a quiet place to work, the library is known as a quite place. While some libraries have open areas to talk and meet, they also have large quiet rooms designated to students who need to hone in on a project and really focus.  

With the heavy-pressured scheduled of a college student, it’s understandable that not every student has ample amount of time to go to the library. For students that wish to enjoy the benefits of the library from the comfort of their bed, the library’s website offers more than just the hours and the building’s history.

Typically, the site will include tutorials on library instruction, information about upcoming events, exhibits, and campus club activities, and other provided services offered. On top of that, students will find a wealth of incredibly convenient ways to make use of the library from home, at work, on the go, etc. Many colleges and universities offer a link to online databases, most of which is information transcribed from encyclopedias and bibliographies, and some will offer online chatting with a librarian or student.

While many college students are thousands of dollars in debt and often question what they’re paying so much money for beyond their classes, the library is still incredibly beneficial and its’ resources should not be overlooked. The library is the best source on campus for assistance in any course, and the ultimate guide to getting better grades, thus making the college experience a little easier on any student.