What has been the most rewarding part about working at the Sanger Center?
I think the most rewarding aspect of working at the Sanger Learning Center is providing strategies and help to students that have gone through and are going through similar academic struggles as me. I love identifying new problems or challenges that arise each semester in my life and figuring out a plan or strategy that will help me to adjust to these situations. During the workshops, when students ask me questions about how I’ve dealt with hardships, it is rewarding to be able to share my story to an audience that is interested in hearing about the real deal. The hope that they will be able to draw some solace in my story as well as their own potential to face their own academic and personal challenges to come during their college years inspires me as well.
What has been the most surprising aspect of your job?
The most surprising aspect to me is the amount of flexibility that I have in the content that I am presenting for our outreach workshops. We definitely need to maintain a degree of professionalism and relay the hard skills and strategies to the students, but our method of delivery can be open-ended. I’ve realized from my experience in front of the students that my own anecdotes on how I dealt with or overcame the same issues they’re experiencing now resonates so much more deeply with them rather than if I just explained to them our workshop material and provided zero insight into how I’ve used these same strategies to improve my academic life and outcomes.
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?
During our Time & Procrastination workshop, I posed a question to the group about how I could go about planning my schedule if my mental alertness curve looked like the one I drew on the board and my class schedule conflicted with all of the ideal times I should be studying. I tried this new method because I had been given this suggestions as part of my feedback during training, and I thought that it was a good piece of advice. The question was open-ended, with no correct answer. Its purpose was to stimulate the students’ minds and to acknowledge the reality that not everything works out as perfectly as it should when planning and some real ways we could fix the issue if this situation was our reality. It grew into a lively conversation among the group and students were bringing up topics of mental health, sleep, study habits, and other factors to approach a solution to my question which had such a fundamental issue. I was ecstatic to see the students engaging so passionately in the conversation, because it meant that I had struck a chord with them and related to them a very real problem that they had faced or could face in the future.
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?
Last spring I took Engineering Physics I, and I was struggling. Hard. That class was such a huge learning curve for me, and I realized that I needed to utilize all of the resources provided for the class, along with paying extra attention to the professor, since it was a subject that was difficult for me to understand. I went to the majority of the review sessions, office hours, and spent time in study group with my classmates. The extra help was needed, and it definitely improved my standing in the class. I’d advise for students to not only increase their own individual studying, but also seek help from the TAs, professor, and other classmates. I believe these changes I made were the most vital to aiding my challenges in that class.