What has been the most rewarding part about working at the Sanger Center?
The best reward is definitely when a student tells me how much the PAC program has helped them and that our sessions have eliminated some of the stress in their life. Your first year at UT, whether as a traditional student or transfer, is full of new challenges constantly hurled at you. I want to help make that transition as graceful as possible. I had a bit of a rough time adjusting my first year so to see that in another student, and then know I was able to make it easier, is so satisfying.
What has been the most surprising or unexpected aspect of your job?
The biggest surprise has been how much I love teaching study skills and discussing the struggles of college every week. I was much more introverted before college, but working as a PAC coach has put me outside my comfort zone in the best possible way. It has helped me discover my love for teaching others and how to effectively communicate with a wide range of students and their unique situations.
Tell me about a time you worked with a student (or group of students) and were particularly proud of the outcome.
This semester I have a student who reminds me a lot of myself in my first year. UT was my last choice school and I wanted nothing to do with anyone or anything here. It took me a whole semester to stop allowing myself to be so miserable and enjoy being here. I’ve noticed a lot of the same stresses in this student’s first year and we’ve taken a lot of time to talk it out, to find the motivation she needs for her classes and life outside of classes. Every week we leave the session feeling better than we did before and she tells me how much the program has helped her. While we’re not at the end of the program yet, I’m particularly happy with how our sessions have gone and the progress she has made!
What advice would you give to incoming students about being academically successful at UT?
Learn to fully accept the idea of change. You will learn more about yourself in your college years than in any other period of your life. Be open to new experiences, new friends, and new interests. Nothing will be certain, but that’s what makes college so exciting. If you change your major, that’s more than okay. You’re not supposed to know the exact path your life will take at orientation. A few years ago, a good friend of mine told me a saying his teacher had passed along to him. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” This is so applicable to your time at UT. If you don’t like what you’re doing, question it. If things seem challenging, be prepared to make changes. Whether it’s looking into your interests for a career path or reevaluating how you study, it’s really difficult to be successful if you remain static.