One of my favorite musicians and comedians of all time is Victor Borge, who once said, "A smile is the shortest distance between two people." And to me, laughter is an even more intimate smile. Whenever I meet people for the first time, I try to ease the tension that comes with making friends by trying to make them laugh. I believe that one of my purposes in life is to make people laugh because laughter is something that helps us understand each other, despite our differences. And I embody this attitude when I teach and tutor as well.
I find so much joy in helping a student unlock his or her potential, and I think laughter is an integral part of that. I once tutored a student in AP Biology. Her strength was not science, but she wanted to challenge herself that year. I admired her grit and her willingness to attack a challenge head-on. I still remember a mnemonic device that we developed to help her remember the lac operon: Beta-galactosidase breaks lactose down into lactose and galactose. We imagined an outer-space war between milk people and aliens and magic swords. The image is very vivid and humorous, and neither of us have forgotten it. But I do believe it was the fun and laughter that we shared that caused her to improve exponentially in the class and actually begin to enjoy the material. This is the type of experience I hope to enjoy with my students. And I am very much looking forward to engaging with students who can take advantage of my approach to academics.