What has been the most rewarding part about working at the Sanger Center?
It is definitely seeing progress and growth in the students we tutor, as well as that of fellow tutors.
What has been the most surprising aspect of your job?
How important it is to extrapolate the information you are tutoring beyond the test and the classroom setting and into real-world applications.
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 remember I was tutoring Chemistry in Drop-In Tutoring two years ago. After the interaction with student A, they exclaimed “That makes so much more sense now. Wow” in disbelief. While these kinds of moments are special in their own right, it was what happened next that made me particularly proud. Another student was asking for help with the same concept so I turned to student A and said “Hey. Since you got it now, you want to try explaining it to this person?” and the student was beaming with excitement and exclaimed “Yes! I totally got this”. Not only did the student gain a better understanding of the concept but they learned it well enough that they then had the confidence to relay the information to their peers. It was an amazing feeling.
What do you think is the biggest myth about learning/studying in college?
I think it is that every successful person has a secret i.e. if people just copy off how someone else studies and uses the resources they do that they too will be a better student. This is a myth because there is no such thing as a “one-size fits all” study plan that will work for every student. What I think makes a successful student is sticking diligently to broader principles like “Make a schedule of what you are going to do” and “make time for what matters to you”, to which they can utilize whichever resource that allows them to apply the principle effectively.
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?
There was a particularly tough semester where I just completely overwhelmed myself. I was taking 17 hours on top of being in a Neuroscience research lab, working at Sanger, and studying for my MCAT, alongside being an officer in two organizations. It was horrible and I would not recommend it to my worst enemy. As a result of spreading myself too thin, my academic performance suffered and so did my social life. I knew I had to make a change. What I did to overcome this was, first, be honest with myself. I had to admit that I was fallible and that that was okay. Once I did that, which was the hardest part, I was able to objectively reprioritize. I reached out to the activities that were not my top priority and told them the truth: that I needed to focus on my classes and the MCAT. Everyone from my lab to Sanger was incredibly receptive and understanding. From then on, the semester was significantly more manageable and I was able to return to my activities the next semester without a hitch. My advice to someone in the same situation is to not be so hard yourself when you fail to meet your expectations. We should recognize that everyone has their own limit and trying to do too much just to prove that you can when it is obviously detrimental to your well-being just isn’t worth it.