Tutor Spotlight: Josie, Economics and MCAT tutor

Posted by Sam on 1/29/16 9:30 AM


This week we're spotlighting Josie, an Economics and MCAT tutor based in Boston. Josie attended Amherst College and majored in Economics and Environmental Studies. She's currently pursuing her MD at Harvard Medical School! Interested in working with Josie, either in-person in Boston, or online? Check out Josie's tutor page here.

1) Tell us about where you grew up, and what your world looked like.

I grew up in rural Vermont at the end of a half-mile long driveway. I was closer to the Appalachian Trail than to my closest neighbor and had a 1.5 mile walk home from the bus (and don't worry, I definitely complained to my parents about it!). As a result, I spent a lot of time outside as a kid.

2) What did you decide to study, and why?

I studied economics and environmental studies. I was fairly certain I was interested in medicine before college, but knew that I had plenty of time to study science for the rest of my life, so I decided to take advantage of my liberal arts education. After taking my first econ class at Amherst, I knew I was hooked.

3) What are you up to now? How did you decide to pursue this?

Most of my time these days is devoted to biochemistry, immunology, and all the other classes typical of the first year of medical school. Ever since I was a kid, I have always been interested in medicine, though I took a roundabout route by doing health economics and health policy research for several years before starting medical school.

4) What do you imagine your life will look like in 5-10 years?

In about 5-10 years, I'll be drowning in medical residency, but hopefully I will still have time to play outdoors with my dog, spend time with friends and family, and cook dinner every night.

5) What’s a lesson you’ve learned from teaching?

Every person has their own learning style. Some people are visual learners, some people can pick things up the first time you say them, and some people need things explained several times in different ways. This is an important reminder in teaching and also in daily life as well.

6) What’s something you’ve changed your mind about?

Chocolate chip cookies. As a kid, I somehow got the idea in my head that I didn't like chocolate chip cookies. Thank goodness I decided to test that idea one day in high school. I've probably eaten a cookie per day since then to make up for lost time.

7) What daily routines or habits are most important for you to do your work?

Ever since I could walk, I've played as many sports as possible, whether it be ice hockey, cross-country skiing, lacrosse, or cycling. When life is particularly hectic, my time devoted to being outside and active is precious time during which I can reflect and recharge. Cooking for myself and/or friends is also some of my favorite time to just listen to NPR and take a break from work.

8) Describe your perfect weekend morning.

Early morning hockey, homemade breakfast with my family while doing the NPR Sunday Puzzle, then followed by a bike ride, hike or trail run with friends and my dog, Bindy.

9) What are 3 non-generic things that you’re grateful for?

 Scott Simon (because his voice! And he reminds me of Saturday mornings at home when I was a kid), dark chocolate (no explanation needed), and fresh powder (because there are unlimited fun activities when there are several feet of snow on the ground).

10) Tell us a story from your childhood. Or, introduce us to your 15 year old self.

I broke three bones by the age of 4. I broke one arm when I fell off a jungle gym at age 2, I broke my other arm falling down the stairs at age 3, and I broke my leg skiing at age 4. My mom started me skiing at one and a half (because she wanted to go, and she couldn't leave me at home) so for that first year I would ski in between her legs. So by age 4, I was in that stage of skiing where you ski straight down the hill without turning. While skiing straight down and obviously going way too fast, I fell over and broke my leg. My mom was in denial and thought that it wasn't broken, so she didn’t take me to the doctor right away. That evening we were having dinner with a friend who was an orthopedic surgeon, and he said, “Yeah, you should probably take her to a doctor!”

11) Share 1 weird fact with us about yourself.

My sister has this ridiculous Bernese Mountain Dog, Waffle, who is instafamous and has 29 thousand followers on Instagram and has been featured in two different BuzzFeed articles. Check out @Wafflenugget!

12) What does your daily information consumption diet look like?

NPR is my go-to information source. I inevitably listen to it at least twice a day. I also read the New York Times, the New Yorker, and of course those silly, un-intellectual stories that pop up on my Facebook feed.

13) What’s something that has inspired you recently?

My sister has struggled with mental health issues for the past decade and has recently started posting about some of the darkest times in her life on social media. It is so refreshing to see social media used as a platform to engage in how life is actually experienced (i.e., with highs and lows, not just the stylized, filtered parts of life that are typically featured), and it has been exciting to see the tremendous support she has received and how she has motivated others to open up about their own struggles.

14) How do you stay focused and motivated?

By staying on top of things, doing a little bit of work every day, and making sure to take time out of every day for myself to exercise, cook, spend time with friends, and sleep enough.

15) What advice would you give to someone looking to get where you are now?

Have fun. Don't just do things because they will look good on your resume, but instead follow what it is you care about. As Atul Gawande asked, what gives you energy? Listen to your energy and do more of the things that you're excited about when you wake up in the morning. 

View Josie's tutor page 

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