I’m going to begin adding to a collection of resources geared to help students in Economics. I’ll do my best to distinguish between undergraduate student and graduate student resources – but I hope that such a compilation serves to help out any readers who are interested in taking an economics course, currently taking an economics course, majoring in economics, considering graduate school in economics, or currently in graduate school in economics.
The link will appear with the other links at the top of the home page.
To start things off, I want to share some positive feedback about students who can develop a good relationship with their faculty members. Sometimes, advice to undergraduate economics students comes in the form of a “Do Not Do” list – what questions not to ask, for example. But, there lots of students who do it right. These students take full advantage of the educational opportunity presented to them, and build strong connections to their professors. An engaged, inspiring professor can be the spark to inspire a career path, graduate school, a research topic, and personal growth.
So Frances Woolley put together a list of her top things economics students do right (OK, she titles it “things that do not annoy me.”), and I’ll highlight a couple I think can really help a student both succeed in an economics course, and cultivate an academic relationship with a faculty member.
- Coming to office hours. It’s office hours. I’ve come to my office expressly for the purpose of meeting students. Helping students understand the course material is what makes holding office hours worthwhile. [AM: Could not agree more. Perhaps some students do not want to “take up a professor’s time” which such insignificant things as “having questions of comprehension” but that is precisely what office hours are for. As long as students show up prepared – with a list of questions, problems, or topics they would like to discuss – I am happy to spend that time getting to know them.]
- Confessing ignorance. When a student walks into my office, my first assumption is “most likely this is an average student.” Most people, however, think of themselves as somewhat above the average. (This is a well-documented psychological tendency that goes by various names, includingoverconfidence bias, illusory superiority, and the Dunning-Kruger effect.) It’s embarrassing, if you think you’re an above average student, to confess that LM curves, indifference curves, or Ricardian equivalence leave you absolutely baffled. There’s no need to feel shame. I’ve seen it all before. Feeling confused is completely normal. [AM: Dead on. Economics is a challenging topic, and was for us when we were undergraduates too! It doesn’t matter if you are used to being at the top of your class in high school (or in college as a grad student). You will always face challenges in the classroom, so don’t be afraid to admit to not knowing something. It’s the first step to intellectual growth.]
The rest of the list is here. Put in the effort, be confident, and learn how to learn.