Discovering Oneself by Mentoring Others
Education has always been a big part of my life, and I have found myself acting as both learner and teacher over the years. It started at in-school tutoring programs where I began working with my peers tutoring for standardized state examinations, and gradually I began taking on more and more responsibility. I worked as a private tutor on my own for many years before finally coming to Frog Tutoring, which has opened up many new doors for me.
As a math and science tutor, I work primarily with students leaving high school or entering college, and in the last semester have worked with many new freshman engineering students from the area. I work as a mentor as much as I do a tutor. My job is not only to help these students understand the materials, but also to help mentor these young adults through this transitioning period in any way I can. Most of these students are leaving home for the first time, and are encountering more responsibility than theyve ever had before. It can be tough for new college students to adjust to being in charge of managing their time and juggling all their priorities. I am able to help as a peer who understands and can help with all the new difficulties these changes can bring. I don’t just help them with study skills, but also with how gaining confidence in their abilities, preparing for meeting their professors for the first time, troubles with their new roommate, and anything else that comes up.
In all of my years of tutoring, these past few months working with other engineering students have been the most rewarding. I don’t just help with homework or preparing for exam, I am able to help students build the skills they will use for the rest of college, and even in their careers. The first few semesters can make or break you in college, especially as a science student. I am there to help support them when there is a bump in the road. They must learn new avenues and approaches to problem solving—the engineer mindset, so to speak. I truly feel like I am having a meaningful impact on their lives.
It’s strange that in teaching others over the years, I have managed to learn so much about myself. I’ve learned how to be a leader, a friend, and a coach. Ive learned what it means to really inspire others, and that means a great deal to me. Being told that my work makes a difference with these students really make me feel so grateful for the opportunities Ive been given to help them, and it has also revived my interest in subjects I had long since moved on from. Helping a student on general high school chemistry recently I remembered my love for the course that I took so many years ago. The time I spend with these students sheds light on how much I have grown since the time I was there age, and how I got to where I am. Teaching these kids helps remind me who I am and what is important to me.
I can think on a single instance in particular which has really impacted me while tutoring. A student came to me with a need for tutoring in chemistry, and she claimed there was no way she was going to pass her class. After a few weeks of working together, she turned to me, grinning widely, and said “I get it!” Watching a girl who had no interest in the subject and who felt so down on herself about it suddenly become really engaged and, dare I say it, excited was extremely fulfilling.
I believe that tutoring, and in turn mentoring, makes me a better person. Looking back on old courses that I once took reminds me of where I started out—just as clueless as any other freshman about how the world actually works—and how much I have actually achieved with my hard work.