Welcome to the last blog of Fall Quarter 2016, Reader!
Thanks for sticking with me (even though most of these blogs were posted in the past 48 hours; yes, I’ll acknowledge my ridiculous procrastination). For this post, I just want to reflect on everything I’ve done this quarter.
I used to think reflections were dumb. In high school, we had these things called “SMART Goals” at the end of every quarter. Each first period was given two extra hours in the morning because students were given time to reflect on their work. Like a lot of students at UCI, I did really well in high school. As in, it was a breeze. I always wrote, “I shouldn’t procrastinate. I did fine,” turned in my paper, and basically had a free two hour block.
I’m not quite doing as well in college. My GPA is pretty dang good (I’m still narcissistic, never let anyone tell you differently), but I’m struggling to balance everything. Independence is crazy. It’s not just “ooh I’m away from home, so I’m FREE and can do WHATEVER I WANT,” but instead, something more akin to “wait, did I buy groceries this week? When am I going to make dinner? Did I pay my insurance this month yet?” College, in that regard, kind of sucks. (Actually, it’s adult-ing that sucks, but I’ll misattribute all I want.) Regardless, I’m having a swell time. This quarter, I had two jobs, took 22 units including HumCore peer tutoring, worked on 12 new experimental meat marinades, and spent a lot of time making more friends than I probably should have. Overall, it was all manageable fun. Hectic, but manageable. I really enjoyed myself.
This program was honestly one of the highlights of my quarter. Classes weren’t hell, but they weren’t a breeze either. Work was fun, but it was still work and closing shifts can be rough. Coming in to the HumCore office was always a good time. Dawn can make anyone’s morning, and working at the same time as Arina is such a pleasure. I love being able to still see Professor Short (I don’t understand how she isn’t sick of me after three straight quarters of hearing me blab all the time, but she’s a real hero). If I can’t come back, it will be a huge disappointment. I really like it here.
I’m so glad I accepted the tutoring position.
I want to be a teacher. That’s my end goal, shining light at the end of the tunnel. All I want to do in my future is help high school students engage with ethnic studies or english or history, depending on where I end up. My decision to take this position was mostly just for resumé building and experience. Obviously, working in the HumCore office allows for networking; that’s a given. However, I also knew I would learn a lot about working with students.
I’ve grown as a tutor for sure. My early tutoring sessions were not quite a mess, but I was too professional (too cold, perhaps) with the students. I didn’t know how to read a student to understand where they were in the writing process or to glean the questions that they didn’t know they needed answered. I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about tutoring as a whole. Now, I think all of these have been resolved somewhat. I’ve balanced non directive and directive tutoring. I’ve learned what a student wants to know when they don’t know they need to know it (it’s something about how they talk in circles around a certain idea). I’ve learned how to be warm and friendly, which has made the experience of tutoring a heck of a lot m0ore enjoyable. I’ve learned that asking “Does that make sense?” often will open up the environment, give the student the green light to tell me if I’m a wacko or if that actually helped. I’ve become more patient and learned what’s really important to look for– hint: it’s never their dumb grammar mistakes.
More than anything though, I’ve grown as a person. Like I said, I’ve become more patient. That isn’t just in dealing with tutees; I’ve recognized it in dealing with my friends, my mom, my TAs. That trait has crossed over into my everyday life. I’ve become a better listener for sure. I still talk too much, but I know when to sit down and shut up. Sometimes people have to talk things out themselves, whether that’s letting the students do most of the talking in discussion and sessions, or letting a heartbroken friend talk herself out of getting back with her ex. I’ve learned how to be more professional, but also how to balance my personality with my professionalism. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m no pro; I’m still a kid, but at least I’m a presentable kid.) My writing itself has improved since I know what to really hone in on; after all, I can’t be a hypocrite to my tutees, can I?
Tutoring, for me, has been more than just tutoring. I’ve made friends (I had regulars– can you believe that??). I learned a lot about myself as a professional and a person. I’ve grown.