Instituto Superior Técnico

Academic Development Unit

Tutee/Student

 “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” Epictetus

Professores e alunos Tutorando_foto 2 Tutorando_foto 3

Why participate in the Tutoring program?

“It’s with great satisfaction that I’m part of the Tutoring Program. There’s no doubt that information about my degree becomes more accessible through this program and also the tutor is available to listen to us at any time and place and concerning any topic. It’s extremely important to have someone to guide us in our academic life.” Pedro Teixeira (student)

“In a stage of my academic life where I feel professors are too distant to notice my problems and difficulties and where I have several doubts about my future as a student and as a professional, the Tutoring Program as been, on one hand, a way to reduce that distance and, on the another hand, an opportunity to have expert counselling. The contacts with my tutor have been an asset and I think these contacts will be even more beneficial in the near future.” Eduardo Bicacro (student)

“The program is a good way to improve the communication between professors and students allowing for a joint effort in order to improve [academic] achievement. Also, it is a good way to enlighten us about our future after IST and our options in the labour market.” Cátia Bandeiras (student)

“I think the Tutoring Program is honestly good, useful and of great importance, both in the bachelor programs and the following degrees.” Carlos Lucio (student)

“It has been a great pleasure to have studied one year at IST, although I have great regret of not having been able to adapt to the degree. Maybe a future connection with IST will be through an investigation team in the Biomedicine area. The year I spent at IST will be in my memory and, of course, in my CV. Thank you very much for everything. My best wishes for professional success to all the department and students of Biomedicine.” Miguel Ferreira (ex-student)”

 My experience as Técnico freshman or from “non-approved” to an Engineering Degree

In 1963/64 I was a 1st year student at Técnico and I flunked. At that time to repeat 1st, you only had to have non-approval in two courses that were, the majority of them, annual courses. In my case, I didn’t get approval in one annual course (General Mathematics) and in the only semester course (Atomic Physics).

Prof. Pedro Lourtie

Prof. Pedro Lourtie

 In July 1970, I finished my academic studies at the Mechanical Engineering Degree which then took 6 years to do. Already working, I did the internship necessary to formally complete the degree and I received the classification of 16 in a maximum of 20 values.

But let’s start by the beginning…

In the 1962/63 academic year, I was completing higher education in Angola. But I had a setback which prevented me from completing school in July 1963. I flunked a course designated “Political and Administrative Organization of the Nation”, known as OPAN, a course which nobody used to fail. But in that year, in Luanda, a lot of students flunked that course.

I came to Portugal and I had to repeat that OPAN course in September, then with success. I also did Técnico’s admission exams and I got in but in a later stage than the beginning of the academic year. More or less like the students that today start in the 2nd phase. I went to my first class with another colleague who was in the same circumstances than I and we had a welcome that can’t be described has a warm one.

It was a practical course in General Mathematics and the professor looked at us both, arriving too late in the academic year, and yelled – ‘You’ll fail, you’ll fail, you’ve arrived too late!’. And so we did, not only the two of us, but many more, since statistical data clearly supported the teacher’s prevision.

It is true that when I entered to Técnico several factors played against me – I was a commuter student, living in Lisboa with my grandmother, and coming from Luanda, where secondary school culture and climate where very different from Técnico’s culture, and even from secondary school in Lisboa. From the small group of my secondary school colleagues, those who continued studying went to different universities, and I came to Técnico alone and with the school year already started.

Considering the all of my experience as a student, this was not the only difficult moment that I tried to cope with, just the one I was closer to give up on myself, and to stop hoping. It would have been easy to get caught in a negative spiral, and the will to give up clearly was in the horizon. Luckily for me, things turned out just fine, and I finished my education at IST with an average of 16 values, positioning myself as one of the best students in the year I graduated.

I have a clear conscience that the difference between giving up and spiralling up to success is sometimes almost infinitesimal. I believe that turning failure into success is possible, as long as you don’t give up and grab the opportunities and support available to you”.