Peer Tutor Spotlight – Joshua Jin

Photo source: Joshua Jin

Hi! I’m Josh, and I was a Peer Tutor for BIOL 112! I currently live in Vancouver, but I’ve called almost every major city in Metro Vancouver home, including Surrey, Coquitlam, Burnaby, and even UBC when I was an infant (funny how my life went full circle like that). I’m currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Immunology, and am an active member of UBC’s Muay Thai club, or Thai Kickboxing.

Why did you want to become a Peer Tutor?

Ever since I was in first year, I’ve always really loved the idea of teaching people. In the COVID lockdown times, Discord was the norm for communicating with others in your class, and I often found myself being the unofficial “Peer Tutor” of the class anyways. I found it really gratifying and meaningful when I would teach someone a concept and they would later send me a message telling me about how I saved them, or that they’re really thankful for my help. I actually did it so much to the point that one of my profs who hijacked a discord server I made noticed the effort that I put in. He suggested that because I was so keen on teaching others, I might as well get paid for it!

What do you enjoy most about being a Peer Tutor? 

I really love teaching students and getting to know them in office hours. You get a sense of the “regulars” and it’s really cool to help students understand course concepts while also giving them studying tips and general life advice. I especially love that “a-ha” moment in their eyes, that sigh of relief as they finally understand something and you can almost see the weight lifted off their shoulders. First year can already be a tough transition point in their lives and I’m glad that I can be a part of making that weight a little lighter for them. I had amazing teaching resources in my first year from my BIOL 112 instructors and TAs, and it’s nice that I can pass that along to the next group of students.

What is your most memorable experience as a Peer Tutor? 

One evening, I received an email from our section’s instructor informing us that her voice was out, and wondered if one of the TA’s or Peer Tutors could fill in and do the lecture the next day. I’ve always wanted to roleplay power tripping over students, so I asked if I (the person with the least education on the teaching team) could give the lecture! To my surprise, I was told that I could, and I spent all evening preparing for the lecture to come the next day. The day of the lecture I was pretty nervous, but I trudged through, shoved the fear aside, and went on to talk about mRNA translation and transcription in eukaryotes and bacteria as if I had any authority to teach. I actually didn’t even finish on time, but a few students came up to me after the lecture and told me that I did a good job teaching, and that they all understood the concepts pretty well! I was really glad that I was actually able to coherently teach that day, and it’s definitely the highlight of my time as a Peer Tutor and a memory I’ll never forget.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Besides the typical guy pre-requisites of having thousands of hours in multiple video games, I also really love kickboxing and cooking. I think any martial art is a great hobby to get into: It’s a great form of cardio (something I always skip at the gym) and it’s somewhat practical in the sense that if the situation calls for it, you can defend yourself.

I also love cooking and think everyone should know how to cook. It saves you money, lets you be creative, and it keeps you healthy and mindful about what you’re eating! I started cooking back when I was 8 years old watching Gordon Ramsay’s YouTube videos in my kitchen. Over the years, I’ve learned to make all kinds of food like steak, pasta, tacos, and even macarons! It’s really fun to make an impressive meal for friends, watching them all enjoy the fruits of your labour, then demanding that they do your dishes because you cooked for them.

What is a fun fact about you that people may not know? 

I have absolutely horrendous music taste. Despite what my kickboxing, 6 feet tall, 185 lb frame would suggest, I listen to very quirky, cutesy music that often have pastel-coloured album covers and delicate voices. Some of my favourite artists are Chevy, City Girl, Adib Sin, and fcj.

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