My battle with Intro to Physical Geography and my secret weapon – Professor Lockwood

My mission: Fulfill GER 2A

I’ll admit this right off the bat, I am not a science person so when I saw that one of the general education requirements was a physical science, I got a little worried. I struggled with every science course in high school and thought I was done with that discipline. Browsing the huge amount of courses offered, however, I picked what seemed to me to be the easiest course – “Intro to Physical Geography” with Professor Lockwood (pictured on the right). Piece of cake right?

Well, not so much. It was a lot of memorization and not the total walk in the park I had imagined. It covered anything and everything about the Earth, from mountains to rivers to volcanoes to rocks. I didn’t study as much as I should have and did poorly on the first test and went to Professor Lockwood’s office hours (five hours a week professors set aside to be in their offices, available to help students). I admitted defeat and told her that I had to withdraw from her class, that there was no way I could pull up my grade. She told me I should definitely stay in the course and that she would try to help me bounce back from this exam. She pulled off a binder from her shelf and showed me a study guide she had created in graduate school to help her tackle courses that required a lot of memorization. Professor Lockwood asked me to come back in a week after making my own study guide and she would make sure I was on the right track. The class was huge, so I was pretty sure she would forget about me. Lo and behold, the next week in class she said she was looking forward to seeing me in office hours, so I returned and she checked my guide. Then she actually started quizzing me – and I had retained the information (this was not something I was used to when it came to science)! I came back in two more weeks for her to check the rest of the study guide I made and earned an A on the next test, which I still have up on my bulletin board (again, not a science girl).

I should also mention that not only was this a class of two hundred students (one of the biggest classes you’ll have here at W&M because it is a pre-req for so many majors) but Professor Lockwood was pregnant the entire semester. I can guarantee you that she would have done that for any one of her students. If you pull aside any William & Mary student on campus (again, please visit!) I’m sure they will share a similar story of how phenomenal the professors are here. They go above and beyond the call of duty and want to see you do well. If you put in the effort and take advantage of the numerous resources here, not only will you pass, you will flourish. And hey, you might end up acing a course you would have NEVER taken 🙂

– Mary Bonney ’10

Categories: Academics, Student Blogs

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