How Becoming A Tutor Changed My Life

How Becoming A Tutor Changed My Life

Becoming a private tutor put me on a path towards happiness.
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If you were to tell me four years ago that I would be in school to become a teacher, I would have probably laughed in your face. All throughout high school, I wanted to be anything but a teacher. By senior year, I told myself that I was going to be a successful businesswoman and attended business school. I do not think I hated anything more in my life than I hated being a business student.

I remember when I took my SATs that I told myself that I would never take a standardized test again, even if my life depended on it. In between the little breaks I get between writing, editing, babysitting, and tutoring, I am studying for the Praxis test.

So, what was it that made me change my mind so dramatically on my career choice? During my freshman year of college, I was low on cash (honestly, who isn't in college?) and I sat myself down trying to figure out an easy way to make money that did not require me to sell my body. One day, while on one of the many Facebook pages I am a member of, a woman was looking for a tutor for her child. It suddenly clicked for me. I can tutor. Tutors make a lot of money, and don't work crazy hours. I then went crazy and posted on every group I was a member of that I could tutor children who are struggling in school.

Within give minutes, I got a hit. It was for a family in Springfield, New Jersey. I could not tell you how nervous I was walking into their home for the first time. While sitting with my student for that first hour, I realized that I was not happy with what I was doing with my life. From that moment on, I could not stand going to my business classes. I knew that business was not my calling, teaching was. Helping others was what I was brought on this Earth to do.

I immediately changed my major to Education and began looking for more tutoring opportunities. Soon, I began working with 4 families simultaneously. Quickly, I found a family that lived really close to me (literally right down the street) who needed a tutor. I truly don't think I knew how much I wanted to be an educator until I met this little boy.

This little boy was not struggling tremendously, but his parents called on me to help him develop stronger math skills. The look on his face every time he finally understand a new concept is what I want to experience everyday as an educator. (Side Note: I know this doesn't always happen, but one can be hopeful right?)

The moments of pure bliss this boy went through when I was teaching him is something I think about everyday. He is my inspiration and driving force to become a better teacher.

When I first became a tutor, I did not think that I would be changing my career path because I enjoyed it so much. Tutoring opened up a whole new world for me by teaching me that everyone can make a change for someone else, no matter how small the change may seem.

Cover Image Credit: sunykorea.ac.kr

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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10 Things I Wish I Had Learned As An English Major

I love the English department and all the experiences and knowledge I gained, but I still missed a couple things.

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Whether it was through taking that class I was considering but opted out of or if it was something that I didn't see offered through the department, there were some subjects I wish I could've learned during my time in college.

English is an incredibly broad field. This is a blessing and a curse as the whole world was my oyster and, yet, I was terrified by the choices I had to make. Additionally, I was a transfer and had to choose that much more carefully. From the time of my first-year orientation, the choices I would make would be what locked me on for the next two years. I do not regret the courses I chose, but I just wish I could've learned even more than I already filled my brain with.

Sure there were professors I also missed out on taking, but more importantly to me, there were topics and techniques that I had hoped to master that I did not even become familiar with or develop further.

From the intricacies of grammar to the importance of marginalized peoples and their literature, there are definitely some classes and areas that I did not expose myself to. If you're also studying English in some form at your university, I highly recommend that you consider some of these missed opportunities as possibilities for you to follow through with.

1. Specific historical movements and groups of people.

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I do wish I had taken the opportunity to take some more courses about groups of people different from myself or courses about events that I would not be experiencing in my life. Although I did take a couple of courses deviating from the stereotypical English courses, I still could've broadened my horizons further.

2. Foreign literature.

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I took an interesting course about French-Algerian literature and finally read the infamous The Stranger by Albert Camus. I had a fascinating professor who was not only well-versed in the material but fluent in French to the point where I thought she was the coolest person ever that quarter. Because of this, I wish I studied more foreign literature during my time.

3. Mythology and classics.

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A slight regret (but not a heavy one since I try to live life without those pesky things) is not taking a classics course while having to one of best departments of any university in this country. If you are studying English or taking English courses, I highly recommend you study classics, at least a little. The biblical and the Greco-Roman influence on the literature today reflects the similarity of stories told back then with the same stories we re-tell today.

4. How to become a better reader.

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This seems a bit inherent in the whole process, but I do wish there was some more emphasis on how to be a better reader. Although we were obviously competent readers who enjoy literature, for the most apart, most of us English majors were not required to take courses on learning to break down literature unless we took specific theory courses or had a professor with an affinity for close-reading. Thankfully I did, but I can imagine how difficult it might be for those students in colleges where that skill isn't emphasized.

5. Rhetoric.

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Rhetoric is one of my personal subject fields within the umbrella category of language and communication. Studying rhetoric and communication would've been an interesting interdisciplinary study especially in dramatic literature. Studying rhetoric and diction in Shakespeare was one of my most eye-opening experiences so it would have been interesting to apply it to more subject matters.

6. Non euro-centric literature.

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Not only foreign literature, but English literature written in the context of or by an author from a non-European country would've been interested as the canon has remained stagnant for a couple hundred years. Although the canon is shifting towards including more authors of minority groups, the shift still hasn't completely occurred on the university level, as well. Offering more classes of authors from backgrounds far less privileged would open up possibilities for more dramatic changes to the canon.

7. Grammar and its techniques.

I had a couple of professors who emphasized the importance of the writing, itself, rather than the subject matter. The best professor concept that I still carry with me is how barely anyone in English is going to have a profound breakthrough of an already overly excavated field, for example, Shakespeare. It is much more important that one understands the significance and impact of their writing than the originality of their content for the sake of learning. I wish that this was further developed in other courses that I took and that it would be a common theme in all English courses.

8. Linguistics and etymology.

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The study of the language, itself, was limited to the French-Algerian literature course I took, Shakespeare, and an Old English literature course I took, which included learning the language. I learned in-depth about the history of the English language and about how closely-tied a majority if the world's languages are. I had a deeper appreciation for the English language in the process, and hope that this same kind of linguistical training be included in our courses around colleges, as well.

9. Contemporary literature.

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Although contemporary literature may be more difficult to study as it is a constantly changing genre, I still wish that I took more courses with books that has come out in the last 15 years.

10. Genre-specific literature.

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I also missed taking some courses about specific genres, such as detective fiction, science fiction, graphic novels, and comedy.

Overall, I am incredibly proud of my college experience and all that I opened myself to throughout the last four years. Although I could look back at this list wistfully, with regret as to what could've been, the reality is that I can still teach myself about all these subjects, through classes or my own personal development. Whatever the case may be, I am incredibly thankful for the UCLA English program and I am proud to have graduated from one of the best English departments in the country.

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