In the second installment of our Getting to Know Us series, I sat down with Ashley, one of our newer tutors, and an absolutely awesome interviewee! In just a few minutes, we covered video games, gardening, crochet, and more. Read on below!
L: Let's get started! So, Ashley, what do you tutor?
A: Well, primarily chemistry and biology, and math all the way up until pre-calc.
L: How did you get started tutoring?
A: When I was in college, the professor of my genetics course saw that I was helping my classmates on the side, and basically said "you're already doing this, why don't you go get paid as a supplemental instruction leader," which is one of the programs my school had.
L: Oh, awesome! I think that's a pretty common experience for a lot of tutors - "I'm already doing this thing, why not make it my job?" So, why chem and bio?
A: I started as a math major, at community college, because I was still figuring out what I wanted to do. A lot of community college was me just figuring out what I wanted to do. I realized my dyslexia makes calculus difficult, so I tried bio, which I liked, but then chem really clicked for me! I started to really enjoy it, and then I wanted to pass on that joy to my students. Chemistry and biology get a lot of flack for being difficult, but really it's just about some bad teachers.
L: Have you thought about being a teacher?
A: I have, actually! Right now, it's a question of "do I go to grad school, or do I get my teaching credentials?"
L: Exciting! I can't wait to see what you pick. What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?
A: I love gardening, and succulents! I did a lot of research on plants when I was at UCLA, and I like to make my gardens and mess with the plants to see if I can get them to grow better. Hmmm... Video games! I've played them since I was five, and now I play with friends - they're a great way to kill time. I even have Excel sheets to keep track of what I'm doing.
L: Excel sheets?
A: Yeah! I use them to calculate how much money I can make in a day on a game, and to optimize gameplay. My boyfriend even uses them to calculate friendship points in some dating video games.
L: That's so cool! It's great having a project like that during quarantine. Have you picked up anything during COVID times to stay busy?
A: I tried to pick up crochet? I get frustrated by the harder stitches though!
L: Me, too! I'm knitting right now, but nothing fancy - I need the uniformity. How has life changed for you during quarantine?
A: Well, I was about to start working in a lab for experience, but quarantine killed labs. Once they were open, they prioritized post-doc and grad students, so I was just at home with nothing to do for a long time. That made me pretty frustrated, and tired a lot of the time.
L: How did you deal with that?
A: I tried to find places where I could go outside or go to safer stores, places where it was ok to go out of the house and feel a little normal.
L: Sure. Any new TV shows, media, or movies that you're enjoying?
A: I always have lots of YouTubers playing the background, especially the ones who talk more, because then it feels like a podcast. I love competition shows, and Netflix has figured out that I love competition shows, because now it only recommends those. I like anything that has a little drama, and a kind of bake-off feel! I also love pottery, and I used to do a lot of it, so I love The Great Pottery Throw Down. I tried watching Knives Out, but... I don't know how I feel about it.
L: Any podcast recs?
A: My boyfriend's grandpa told me about The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, and I'm liking that!
L: Awesome, I'll definitely check that out. Just to wrap up, do you have any advice for students right now?
A: Just keep trying. It's very hard right now, but the worst thing for you is a negative mindset. Just keep pushing yourself.
L: Thank you so much! I really appreciate you spending some time with me today.
A: Thanks, Lily!