Current Job Title:
Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant
Western Michigan University – Department of Mathematics
Describe your current job:
While also being a student, the Math Department employs me as a teaching assistant. It's a great setup, as I get to do something somewhat related to my studies. I currently teach three lab sections of MATH 1140, Excursions in Mathematics, which is a math class geared towards other Arts and Sciences majors who only need to take one math class for their major.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most rewarding part of being a graduate student is learning new material at a much higher level than undergrad, it really opens the mind to a lot of new things. As a teaching assistant, the most rewarding part is watching and helping students find success inside and outside of the classroom. The most challenging part of being a graduate student is adapting to the higher level of thought and work ethic required for graduate school. The most challenging part of being a teaching assistant is seeing students who aren't doing well in the course due to them not doing homework or showing up to class.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
A lot of my professors, inside and outside the math department, in undergraduate have helped turn myself into a better student and person. Their high expectations provided me with a lot of stress and nights with little sleep, but they forced me to adapt and to learn. They were tough, but they were always fair, and willing to help out when I asked for it. I'm extremely grateful to them for helping me become better so that I could find success in the future.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
Search for and use all available resources available to you as a WMU student, most of them aren't secrets and are underutilized. The university and its departments have put a lot of things in place to help you succeed as a student, it is up to you to use them for your own success.