Hello, I’m Violet! I’m from Calgary, AB, and I moved to Vancouver for UBC where I’m now in my last year of my undergrad. I’m majoring in Biology and minoring in Arts with a focus in Bioarchaeology. I’m a Peer tutor for BIOL 121 where I get to help introduce students to some important topics in biology which include genetics, evolution, and ecology.
What do you most enjoy about being a Peer Tutor?
What I enjoy most about being a peer tutor is seeing firsthand the progress that students make throughout the course. Facilitating the “Ah-ha!” moment where a student understands a concept that they were struggling with is incredibly rewarding on its own. However, it is even more rewarding when I see them apply it later on in the course and all those seemingly small(er) moments have added up into a student understanding the big picture.
What has being a peer tutor brought to your undergraduate experience?
Something unexpected that being a peer tutor has brought to my undergraduate experience is the full-circle moment of seeing how far I have come as a student. I took BIOL 121 in my first year at UBC and now I’m a peer tutor for BIOL 121 in my last year. It has been really fulfilling to recognize that I was once in my students’ shoes, where I was learning about some topics for the very first time, and now I am the person that gets to help others learn them for their first time.
What has been an interesting outcome of your peer tutoring experience?
For the majority of my time as a peer tutor I have been online and I just started in-person peer tutoring this February. One thing I have found interesting is the different ways that students approach learning and instructors approach teaching online vs in-person. Online, I find that students ask more questions as soon as they come into their head, instead of waiting for a pause, like they would in an in-person lecture. It has been interesting to see how this affects the learning and retention of key concepts in students. I also enjoy anticipating which concepts students may need assistance with.
How has your unique background influenced your peer tutoring experience?
A unique part of my background that has majorly influenced my peer tutoring experience are my past work experiences. The opportunities that I have found to be applicable to peer tutoring, and have meant a lot to me, include being an education programming assistant, wildlife rehabilitation assistant, botany research assistant, and lab assistant. I have used skills acquired from these positions to help students learn and also to give insight into how the concepts learned in BIOL 121 apply to the outside world and why they are important to understand.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time outdoors, hiking, and appreciating nature in and around Vancouver. Some of my favourite places for walks are Pacific Spirit Forest Park, the Seawall, and the beaches around UBC. The classes I have taken for my degree have helped me to better appreciate the biodiversity in these areas. I also really enjoy exploring the city! Though I have been here for almost 5 years now, I am amazed that I can always find new and exciting things to do.