How to succeed this finals season featuring Jeff Larson of Learning Support Services


Riley Omonaka, Features Editor

December brings with it many joys: warm drinks, cozy sweaters, and the promise of a long winter break. Unfortunately, for most Linfield students it also means the dreaded finals are coming. 

A time for tests, presentations, and essays galore. This time in the semester can be difficult for even the most disciplined of Linfield students to manage the workload, but there is a network of people ready to help them. 

Learning Support Services is just one office on campus ready to help students succeed. Director of LSS Jeff Larson hopes students will come to him during finals.

“I think my favorite part of my job is helping students identify and utilize their academic strengths more effectively,” Larson said. “It is also very rewarding when our office can help remove or reduce a barrier on behalf of a student.”

But, Larson is more than just the director; he is a Linfield alum, a corgi lover, and a nature enthusiast. Larson, who graduated in the class of 2009, knows what it takes to succeed in the Linfield academic system, and he’s ready to help current students do the same. 

Whether students want help connecting to academic resources or want to talk about beautiful Oregon scenery. Larson is the man to go to. On his off days, he enjoys going on day trips and playing with his dog. 

“I like to explore all the natural beauty Oregon has to offer. Visiting the coast is my favorite,” Larson said. 

His favorite part of his job, however, is helping students grow. While overcoming academic challenges can be frustrating, for Larson, being able to see the breakthrough moments make all the work worth it.

“It is amazing to see when students excel after an initial setback. We talk a lot about growth mindset in LSS and seeing that in action is incredible,” he said.

Larson encourages students to get in touch with LSS early this finals season so that he can help as much as possible.

“The majority of students will use an LSS resource at some point during their time at Linfield which is amazing.  I would encourage students to visit LSS earlier,” he said. “The resources LSS offers like tutoring, accommodations, and academic coaching are all more effective when used proactively.”

At the end of the day, Larson just wants to see students thrive. For this and future final seasons, Larson recommends these tips:

  • Start studying now. 

“The earlier and more often you review content, the more likely you will be able to master it. Find ways to test yourself, create study guides or example test questions. Another great way to master content is to teach it to someone else.” 

  • Utilize professors.

“Reach out to professors to schedule office hours and discuss approaches to preparing for finals.”

  • Take care of yourself.

“It can be challenging when you have so much on your plate but now is an important time to prioritize wellness practices. Sleep, nutrition, and exercise will help ensure you have the most productive study sessions possible.”

  • Not sure where to start? 

“LSS can help brainstorm a plan for studying for finals.”

Larson hopes students will reach out to LSS with questions or concerns regarding academics. He and the rest of the staff are here to help with academic accommodations, coaching, or tutoring whenever students need it.

The learning support services office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Melrose 020. Students can make appointments by email ([email protected])or phone (503-883-2562).