One of the best side-effects of the tutorial system is the increase in your academic self-confidence and belief in your own intellectual ability.
Being put on the spot – and finding that you give a sensible and interesting answer to a difficult question – genuinely makes you feel good about your intellectual ability. More than that, of course, you deepen your knowledge of your subject immensely in a very short period of time. Realising that you understand something that only a couple of hours ago was very fuzzy is quite an exhilarating experience!
What helps this? Firstly, it is just you and your tutor in the tutorial, so there is none of the anxiety that comes with asking a question in lecture, or even in a class full of people. Instead it is just you and your tutor! Now that might sound scary, after all your tutor has been thinking about these things for years, and you’ve had no more than a few days. But it is nothing like that, because your tutor wants you to do well!
This is the best thing about the whole experience, you are sitting one on one with an expert in the field who is there to help you better understand – that is the point of their Job. I cannot think of the number of times I have said something in a tutorial, and not been sure whether it was brilliant or brilliantly stupid, but whichever one it was it was used by the tutor to take the discussion forward.
It is really liberating being about to speak your mind, and be challenged and questioned about it in a safe environment, away from the judgement and the loud interruptions of your class-mates. You will leave your tutorials feeling more self-assured and more confident in your intellectual ability.
Most importantly, as you gain in this self-confidence you will come to realise that you are able to understand these questions, and more importantly, you get the feeling that as you continue to study you’ll be able to understand them even more!