My son is in his second year of university in Canada. He was very happy to begin with but now wants to get out as soon as possible. He says he can never get assistance from university professors; the classes are so large there is no time to get to know other students and is not enjoying university. I wonder what I can do to help him understand university life and to make the most of the rest of his time there. Education consultant Florence Robertson responds: Many students feel the same way when they begin university. Classes in secondary schools are much smaller and students get to know other students more easily. Teachers will often approach their students to find out how they are feeling about their studies. They tend to give extra help if their students are struggling. University professors usually have many more students in their classes and do not know the individuals who are having difficulty. Most are willing to give students extra help if they make the effort to seek them as they expect students to become more independent. I suggest that you discuss with your son his feelings about university and what he likes and what he doesn't like. Try to explain to him the difference in the responsibilities that are expected of a student in secondary school and university. Ask your son what parts of university life that he has control over. If he doesn't feel he can get help from a professor, explain that university professors have office hours. Ask him if he knows the office hours of the professors whom he wishes to see. If not, explain how he can obtain these hours and make an appointment. Advise him through questions and answers how he should go prepared for the interview. If he doesn't understand certain content, then he should have a list that is very clear for the professor to address. University students who join clubs or activities usually feel a part of their university and more committed to supporting it. They also make friends in such groups because of their similar interests. University life is a time to expand his knowledge and to test his own ideas and theories. Through questions and answers, help him to identify what he would like to learn and test at university and how this can be done. Help him through an open discussion to realise that the time at university will pass very quickly and that he shouldn't miss the opportunities available to him to meet new friends, join clubs, take leadership roles and test his ideas.