I remember my first psychology tutorial, it was raining Wizz Fizz and it was all my fault. We were re-enacting Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiment, substituting sherbet for meat powder and humans for dogs. I was in charge of feeding Wizz Fizz to my group’s volunteer. We successfully conditioned her to salivate when someone said “Pavlov” but between my shocking hand eye co-ordination and those pitiful Wizz Fizz spoons, she ended up wearing more sherbet than she ate! She was very kind about it despite having every right not to be, and is now one of my closest friends.
Why this trip down memory lane? Well, next week the shoe will be on the other foot because I will be running my first psychology tutorial. It feels bizarre just typing that. As an undergraduate, the PhD students who ran my tutorials seemed all-knowing, self-assured and oh-so-much-more grown up than I. My tutors were enthusiastic, kind, approachable and helped me to understand psychology and the way it was studied and communicated. As an undergraduate I approached some of these tutors to gain some insight into their postgraduate journeys. Their generosity with their time and stories back then helped me to realise that one day I too might be able to do what I am doing now.
Needless to say, I have a lot to live up to, though the tutor’s induction I had earlier today was definitely reassuring. It was good to hear from someone passionate about tutoring, about tutors’ experiences, expectations and supports and to get some suggestions about handling various scenarios, including not knowing the answer to a student’s question! In summary, I’m both nervous and excited at the chance tutoring will give me in some small way to attempt to pay-it-forward, to get my feet wet and to take some of my first steps towards something I’ve always wanted to do: be involved in academia. Wish me luck!