I was born in the great city of Chicago and raised just 15 minutes outside of it. I went to high school at the Proviso Math and Science Academy, where my skills in those subjects truly blossomed and became the pillars of my academic success. In high school, I swam and played tennis while also participating in the chess and math clubs. After finishing high school, I chose to leave the cold weather behind and head out west to Stanford University, where I studied psychology. From my school experiences, I’ve learned that what you do outside of the classroom is equally as important as what you do inside the classroom. Preparation plays a big factor in learning and future success. I also have learned that it is important to try to have fun while studying and learning. School and grades often become such a slog but can be a little easier to deal with when there is enjoyment, whether that be in the actual learning process, with how the material is presented, or even during breaks taken while learning.
I’ve always had a passion for chemistry since I was first taught it in school. In college, it really became something I enjoyed after getting more hands-on experience through labs and higher level classes. Chemistry is also fun to learn because it has so many real world, everyday applications that are easy to see and discuss. Algebra didn’t come to me as quickly as chemistry did. It took more effort and practice to learn concepts and connect what I had learned, but now I love the subject and being able to understand relationships and representations better because of it.
I have worked with students in both academic and sports settings. I tutored friends and some family members while in high school for help with homework and the ACT, and I learned that it’s a great feeling knowing you helped someone succeed and that success opens the way for them to realize their dreams. During my time as a swimmer and while working as a lifeguard for 4 years, I taught swim lessons. The range of students I taught ranged from toddlers to senior citizens. While dealing with such a diverse group of people like that with such different skill levels and abilities, I learned how to be patient and also how to structure lessons in different ways to best serve multiple learning styles. While at Stanford, I also did coaching during the summers as part of my responsibilities as a men’s basketball manager.
The coaching experiences helped me better understand the pressures and stresses that students face and how to help them get past that in order to get better and learn. As a coach, you get to learn when you need to step in to help and when it might be better to have the opportunity to face a tough challenge without much help. I have found that this applies to tutoring too—when working on problems and material, there can be times when it’s best to step in with guidance and times when the student will learn best by pushing through the challenge and getting through it without much help.
My approach to tutoring is that everyone learns a little differently and has different strengths, so being flexible is extremely beneficial to helping a student reach their potential and learn. I also know that maintaining perspective is vital to making sure learning goes smoothly. Struggling in one area doesn’t mean that a student will continue to struggle. Learning is not an all-at-once endeavor—it takes time and is a long road. I think when students understand that, it can help relieve some of the pressure and help them have a little more focus. 1-on-1 tutoring is extremely beneficial because it allows for a bond to be formed, and when there’s trust involved, it is easier for students to give their best effort and really buy into what is being taught.
In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball and climbing, reading National Geographic magazines or anything by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and going to the movies.