During my second year at Colgate University, I got involved with Let’s Get Ready upon a suggestion from a random classmate. Yet, as I look back at my career as a classroom teacher, admission counselor, and college advisor, my time with Let’s Get Ready doesn’t feel random at all.
Initially, I was apprehensive about getting involved with LGR because of my own SAT experience. I can still recall the panic that set in before each practice test. The idea of having to relive that experience in an effort to tutor someone else was daunting. However, I also knew that my testing experience would help me empathize with students who struggled with testing.
I was paired with a young woman from Hamilton Central High School. We had few shared lived experiences, outside of our first-gen low-income status, but our pairing offered much to us both. Like I had been, Macy was nervous about the Math section of the SAT. She avoided challenging concepts, adeptly changing the topic or starting small talk. What was she avoiding? I consulted our site director and scanned the coach manual for advice. Fortunately, there were resources to help navigate the situation, but it was our near-peer relationship that really helped us overcome this roadblock.
One day, I went to the farmers market in town and saw Macy selling fresh dairy products from her family’s farm. I watched her do mental math with ease, not thinking twice about the discounts she had to calculate. I realized there was something unseen about Macy’s relationship to math. At our next session, I shared my observation with Macy which made us both stop and think. What’s actually going on here?
Macy divulged that she was not the smartest math student in her class. Her peers were “better” and she felt like she didn’t belong. When she was at the farmers market selling products, she felt confident. Her parents entrusted her with the business and she was motivated to succeed. My job then was to recreate that confidence in our SAT prep sessions.
Our ability to relate as near-peers helped me understand Macy’s circumstance. Despite our many differences, Macy was able to see herself in me, and I saw myself in her. Our ability to connect as near-peers helped us figure out how to build her confidence through silly affirmations and frequent text messages with positive reinforcement.
Let’s Get Ready is not just about tutoring and coaching. It is also helping students see and understand that they are not alone. They have a path to college if they want to pursue it. For me, it inspired my dedication to making every student see that possibility overcome their academic roadblocks and explore opportunities that seemed out of sight. I am so proud to return to Let’s Get Ready in my role as Director of Individual Giving to ensure the organization has the resources to reach as many young people – just like Macy – as possible. Thank you for your continued support to make this happen.
Former LGR Coach
Current LGR Director of Individual Giving