I spent most of my childhood near Boulder, Colorado. When I was fourteen, my family and I moved to Bangalore, India, and a few days later I started high school. The academic culture in my new school was different from what I had experienced in the US. I now had to take charge of my own preparation for the end-of-year exams, while previously my teachers had prepared me for anything a test could possibly throw at me. So began a series of fact-checking missions and frantic study sessions. Once, I camped at a classmate’s house for days so we could receive math tutoring from her neighbors, who were younger than us but grasped what we could not. Another classmate and I spent countless evenings and weekends at a foreign language institute learning Spanish, which was not offered by our school. It was there that I had my first teaching experience: I taught beginning Spanish to young professionals, both one-on-one and in small classes.
I returned to the US to attend Brown University, where I explored many disciplines before eventually deciding to study the history of colonialism. Outside the classroom, I focused on my passion for psychology and mental health advocacy. Academic stress – whether in college or high school – can be a pressure cooker that exacerbates any mental health issues a student may have to deal with. I firmly believe that students should be given all possible support when navigating what can feel like a terrifying situation. As my years in college passed, I noticed that every new incoming class had to jump through even more hoops to earn a place at college. High schoolers today face tremendous pressure – from their families, from society, and even from themselves – to excel at all costs. In college, I discovered that asking for help when you need it can sometimes be the only way to survive without burning out, so I am thrilled to be able to offer help to students who are brave enough to ask for it.
The city I lived in during high school didn’t have anything like the test prep industry in the Bay Area. My preparation for the SAT was aided only by a book of practice questions, but now I wish I’d known some of the brilliant strategies AJ has developed. What I enjoy most about tutoring is discovering the nuances that define each individual student. Everyone perceives new information in a slightly different way; I endeavor to explain material and strategies in a way that speaks directly to the student I’m working with. I want all my students to know that I admire them for seeking a tutor; there is no judgement involved in the process. My students are equal partners in this effort to make their education more rewarding.