Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Second chance at life, Southeast tutor aims to help other's learn

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

As a senior in high school, Southeast sophomore Michael Smith suffered a stroke that nearly ended his life. He blacked-out at school and when he woke up, he could not move the left side of his body and was 90 percent blind.

Hours later his health had returned to normal but the Jackson native said the event changed his outlook on life forever. Smith learned he was 1 of 100,000 people who would have a stroke at the age of 18.

Smith had always been interested in the brain, but after his stroke, he became even more inspired to study biomedical science and chemistry with hopes to one day become a neurologist.

“They never figured out why it happened, so I would like to help people who go through the same thing,” Smith said.

Smith said he dealt with a lot of anxiety and went through therapy to get him through this tragic experience, but also felt it made him wiser. He now lives his life to the fullest.

"I never know when it can happen again, and now my chances are higher,” Smith said. “I don’t worry about it much anymore, but I would like to help young people that may be afraid when this happens because it's scary.”

Smith explained how he was given a second chance at life and learned how quickly life could change.

Smith has always been good at science, but when he got to college, the high grades he received in his classes made him eligible to become a tutor.

He believes the goal of tutoring is to help people who want good grades or just want to learn.

"You want everybody to do as well as they want to do," Smith said.

Smith tutors chemistry, biology and math working with 12 students.

He said student tutoring can be beneficial for students so they have someone other than a teacher.

For his tutees who struggle with hard concepts, he advises them to learn and retain information through flash cards, practice problems and consistently write out problems.

What he considers one of his biggest accomplishments as a tutor occurred last semester when a tutee who had been struggling in a math course ended up in his session. The student came into tutoring the second week of school with a D in the class, and with Smith’s help, ended up with the desired grade.

Smith said not all stories end in success. Some students may not care enough to put forth the effort required to pass the class, even with tutoring. However, he noted if they really care and want to do well, they will most likely succeed.

Smith encourages anyone who is struggling with classes to seek tutoring. Tutoring and the supplemental instruction (SI) sessions are free.

Tutoring Services is located on the fourth Floor of Kent Library. To sign up for a tutor, visit