Mike Ciraulo began tutoring in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in February, and he plunged into his work in the Reading & Writing Center (RWC) with enthusiasm; he enjoys the feeling of helping writers navigate their way through a complex assignment. Like many of the students he works with, he is an adult learner, returning to college to get his degree after an absence of many years.
“I understand the frustrations of having to write an essay when you haven’t been in school quite a while.” That kind of empathy helps him build trust with his tutees. Like most SJCC students, Mike has a busy life outside of campus – husband, father, and restaurant manager, but he says that he just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to become a tutor.
Mike wishes more students used the RWC and other LRC services: “There’s a misconception on campus that tutoring is just for those with learning disabilities, or students who are failing a course. But the Reading & Writing Center is a valuable resource for everyone.” He uses the Center himself before his shifts begin to complete course work. “I value the quiet atmosphere. And if I need help, there’s a peer tutor nearby. Taking advantage of every college resource means moving that much closer to your goals.” Mike works in the RWC on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons, and he’s easy to find, always wearing one of the San Francisco Giants caps from his colorful collection.
Lauren Apostol is a veteran peer tutor in the Reading & Writing Center, having begun her work in September 2016, shortly after moving to San José from her native Philippines. She receives glowing reviews from the students she tutors, with many pointing out her patience and excellent listening skills. Like all RWC tutors, Lauren was recommended for her position by an SJCC English instructor, who described her as one of strongest academic writers and thinkers he’s ever worked with; she then completed an online application, an in-person interview, a 3-hour orientation, and a semester-length tutor-training course. After completing her first semester of tutoring in December, she qualified for CRLA certification, a recognition of tutoring skills supported by the College Reading & Learning Association.
Lauren’s philosophy is ostinato rigore, Latin for ‘obstinate rigor,’ a motto which she adopted from Leonardo Da Vinci, with whom she shares much in common. “I grew up painting and drawing, but my heart pulled me towards medicine.” She admires the original Renaissance man for combining science with the arts, and she looks at the world with a similar imaginative but disciplined vision, pursuing her goal of becoming a neurosurgeon without sacrificing her artistic self. “I’m not naturally scientifically inclined, but I enjoy challenging myself out of my comfort zone, running marathons, performing experiments, and tutoring in the RWC.” Such ostinato rigore makes for a steely work ethic and many satisfied tutees. Look for Lauren in the Reading & Writing Center on Wednesday afternoons, Thursday evenings, and Fridays until 2:00 pm.