What has been the most rewarding part about working at the Sanger Center?
The most rewarding part about my job here at Sanger is witnessing the epiphany moments of students (whether in their facial expressions or course of action in a problem) when they finally understand a concept. It’s satisfying because the tutee simply needed an extra push in learning a concept, and I was able to help with that push. A goal of mine as a tutor is to help a tutee understand their point of confusion to the point where they no longer need my help. As soon as that epiphany moment occurs, my task as a tutor is to simply observe the tutee solve a problem without my help!
What has been the most surprising aspect of your job?
The most surprising aspect of my job is that tutors aren’t expected to be perfect experts of their respective subjects. While we are knowledgeable in our subjects, we are also learning whenever a tutee presents us a challenging problem. These challenging problems are my favorite because it encourages collaboration between tutors and tutees. In the end, I learn more about being a better tutor, solving problems, and working together – all while getting the satisfaction of solving a challenging problem.
Tell us about a time you worked with a student (or group of students) and were particularly proud of the outcome. What happened? Why was it special?
I once had an appointment with a student in differential/integral calculus, and she was having trouble understanding linearization and approximation. Luckily, this is one of my favorite topics in calculus, so I took my time to enthusiastically explain the topic of linearization. The tutee began the tutoring session not knowing how to start a problem that involves linearization to confidently solving several problems without my help. My favorite part was when she said linearization is cool and that I taught it better than her professor. There is no better feeling than helping someone understand AND enjoy a topic.
What do you think is the biggest myth about learning/studying in college?
A common misconception about learning/studying in college is that group studying is the ONLY way to get through your coursework. While groups do work, there are some limitations and conditions. Groups should be no larger than 4 people; big groups end up chatting and getting no studying done. Study groups should be there for discussion, clarification, or review; NOT learning a topic from scratch. I do my homework and studying on my own, and if I can’t solve a problem after critically thinking about it, I will study with a group and ask how they went about solving that problem.
Tell us about an academic challenge you encountered when you got to UT. How did you handle it? What advice would you give to someone in that same situation?
An academic challenge I encountered when I first started at UT was time management. I wasn’t sure how to organize my time, especially because I had so much freedom and all decisions were my responsibility. During my free time, I would prioritize to-do lists, organize my calendar, and set reminders, but the time I used for organizing my time could have been used to actually do things. I realized that the best remedy for this was ACTUALLY starting tasks (assignments, homework, readings, etc). Additionally, having a routine really helps. My advice for those struggling with time management is this: have a routine. Routines are great because the things you do become “automated” in your brain, so you don’t have to think much about them. Additionally, routines can reduce stress because you are organizing and systemizing your time. Have a morning routine, a night routine, a study routine (figure out how long it takes you to do certain assignments), and you’ll see that you are more productive and less stressed because of them. Routines do require self-discipline, so always ask yourself why you are doing these routines. Remember that answer, relate it to your life goals, and keep going.