The experiences of tutors at the Math Study Center

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Students study in the library. Photo credit: Scroll Archives

Galileo once said, “Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.” While that may very well be true, it is a language that can be difficult for some to learn, let alone master.

There are many tools out there to assist in this, such as Wolfram Mathematica, but online tools can only help so much compared to in-person help. This is where the Math Study Center comes in.

The Math Study Center has strict criteria for students who want to tutor. Their website gives the following criteria:

— Achieved an A or A- in at least Math 109 (Pre-Calculus), Math 112(Calculus) or Math 221(Statistics).

— Hold a GPA of 3.2 or higher.

— Available to commit to 10 hours of work a week.

But what is being a math tutor like? What are the perks and drawbacks?

“I feel like a lot of times in our courses here, they give you three months to try and learn something,” said Tyson Brost, a junior studying economics. “You just get your way through it, but you don’t really get time to really ingest the information and build on it. And so that’s one of the things I love about coming here is I can go and tutor kids in courses that I’ve taken, and it gives me the time to think through the concepts and really learn the idea and rather than just spit it out for an exam.”

The service aspect does seem to be a prominent upside with tutors. Many seem to enjoy their job.

“I think I like when I can see those a-ha moments in the students,” said Josue Avila, a sophomore studying computer information technology. “I don’t say anything, but people just want to review what they’re doing. I think when they can see that they are understanding the problem. I think that is the best part of the day.”

Math student
A student working in the Math Study Center. Photo credit: Roger Hughes

There are, of course, drawbacks to being a tutor.

“Well, it is stressful when I’m not able to help them,” Avila said.

This is something that is shared by others.

“My least favorite part is when people ask me questions that I’m unable to find an answer to,” Brost said.

At the end of the day, the Math Study Center is a place for those who are willing to help others. It gives students a chance to refine their skills as well as learn new ones.