Science help center relieves academic stress



The new science help center meets on Zoom every X-Block and on Wednesdays.

Cramped schedules, extracurricular conflicts, distance between students and teachers, awkward Zoom interactions. With all of these factors at play, reaching out to a teacher with questions can be hard.

Juniors Rachel Ford and Neda Sabeva founded a new science help center this year. The center meets at both X-Blocks and Wednesdays from 12:15-1:00 p.m. and has 11 peer tutors. The goal is a relaxed alternative to one-on-one meetings with teachers, where students who have trouble learning science remotely can get help from peers.

Ford said she wanted to create a place where students could feel comfortable coming for help.

“This year, there was never really a place to ask for those science questions that sometimes arose, and I heard from other students that it felt almost awkward to create a private one-on-one meeting with your science teacher just to ask a quick question,” Ford said. “I thought that the community could really use a space for that.”

Sabeva said she believes this year there are more students that need the help.

“Our goal is to help students feel more comfortable in their classes and to be able to understand the material better, because I think a lot of students are struggling,” Sabeva said. “We just want to make sure that everyone is as successful as they can be and to help with the issues of learning online as well, which is hard.”

The unique factor is that this help center is entirely student-run and only offers peer tutors.

Junior Max Kuriyel, one of the physics tutors for the help center, said peer tutoring can provide helpful insight that can open doors for students with questions.

“Sometimes if you are struggling on homework or studying your teacher’s methods, [they] don’t always work or you don’t understand how they’re explaining it,” Kuriyel said. “If you have gone through the content and you know what works for you, it’s easier for you to help another student peer to peer because you have that shared experience of going through the class.”

Ford said being tutored by peers helps the situation feel less awkward.

“Just working out problems when you’re with people your own age sometimes feels better and makes you feel like you’re not alone in that situation,” Ford said.

The help center is not trying to replace teacher help. Sabeva said it can be a helpful place to go in addition to meeting with teachers who might be busy.

“It’s so much more relaxed and also the teachers themselves don’t necessarily have that much time, and so they can’t always meet with you. We wanted to offer this as an extra resource if you can’t meet with your teacher, or you don’t feel comfortable for whatever reason,” Sabeva said.

As someone who benefited from science help centers in the past, Kuriyel said anyone can come with a question from any subject and expect to leave feeling much better.

“I just think it’s a really good experience and it’s very welcoming,” Kuriyel said. “I think it would be effective for a lot of the kids taking chemistry and all subjects.”