A UTF’s reflections at the end of her undergrad

Rebecca Wheatley is a journalism major and will be graduating in December 2016 with an emphasis in print media. She has worked with the UTF program as a social media assistant for two years. She is also a UTF for the journalism Media Smarts course.


There may be just over one month left in the semester, but I can already feel my college days coming to a close. It hasn’t all been easy, but every trial, sacrifice and test has been worth it. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the UTF program and I can’t even begin to explain how much this opportunity will help me with my future career aspirations.


What do you wish you’d known as a new UTF?

I wish someone would have told me that as a UTF, everyone in the class was not going to like me 100% of the time – and that’s okay. It’s difficult to make that transition from being a peer to being a peer mentor. I thought I could easily be friends with all my students, however that wasn’t true. As soon as I started grading quizzes and the semester wore on, some students weren’t my biggest fans. But I had to learn that was totally fine. I wasn’t there to be their friend, I was there to be a resource in the class.


What was your favorite encounter with a student?

In the class I UTF for, we have weekly quizzes. I had one student in particular that really struggled to score high on those quizzes. And I quickly learned it wasn’t for a lack of reading the course materials or working extremely hard in the class. This student simply struggled with the question format on the quizzes. This student came to talk to me several times. We worked together for some time. Eventually, I was able to help him learn how to become a better reader and do well on the quizzes. He became one of my favorite students I had that semester because he was willing to work so hard. I really admired that about him and I honestly think he made me a better student as well due to his example.


What a piece of advice you have for new UTFs?

I think the best thing you can do is create a great relationship with your professor mentor. They don’t have to be your BFF, but it’s incredibly important to have clear and open communication with them. One great way to do this is to meet with your mentor on a regular basis. I really enjoyed meeting with my mentor because it gave us both a chance to make sure we were on the same page about everything going on in the class.

Also, Dr. T, our program director is absolutely incredible, and you should definitely meet with her at some point during your time as a UTF. You won’t regret it at all! She’s a hoot!

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