Texas Tech University

Tutor Successes - Dhweep Patel

By Brandi Willis Schreiber

Image of Dhweep Patel with "guns up"It's immensely satisfying for us to learn how working at the TECHniques Center inspires tutors to pursue careers helping others with physical impairments or disabilities. Dhweep Patel, former TECHniques Center tutor and Master Tutor, is one such tutor. Once focused on being a pre-med student, Dhweep realized through working at the TECHniques Center that he needed a career that would allow him to provide more hands-on care to people with physical impairments. As a result of this, he will soon earn his Doctor of Physical Therapy at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Below, Dhweep shares his thoughts about how working at the TECHniques Center ultimately influenced his decision to pursue this newly-inspired career, his favorite memories from working here, and how he ended up getting this job, thanks to a good friend who is also a former Academic Counselor from the TECHniques Center!

Dhweep, when did you graduate from Texas Tech University, and what degree did you earn?

I graduated from Tech in May 2016 with Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Sports Science with minors in Biology and Chemistry.

How long were you a tutor in the TECHniques Center?

I was a tutor for two years and Master Tutor during my second year.

What made you want to apply to work as a tutor in the TECHniques Center?

One of my closest friends Taylor Fortney [former tutor, Master Tutor, and Academic Counselor] was the one who encouraged me to apply as I was trying to find a job that involved helping fellow students. I loved helping others understand concepts and theories. Little did I know it would turn into more than a job and something I would be really passionate about.

While you were a tutor here, what was one of the most CHALLENGING lessons you learned?

There were a lot of lessons I learned but the one that comes to my mind right away was learning about the impact of learning disabilities in our student's lives. We hear people tell us they have dyslexia, ADHD, Autism, etc., but getting to know the students, their pure hearts, and [their] willingness to learn and seeing it get impeded (sometimes) due to their disabilities was extremely hard to watch. But I also learned that these are fighters and a few of the strongest people I have met who push through ... and accomplished what they wanted.

You are a very empathetic person, so we can understand how this would impact you. It's also what will make you a great healthcare professional! That being said, how did the TECHniques Center help YOU grow as a student, young professional, and citizen and help prepare you for the next steps in your professional life?

Saying that I grew a lot as a student, professional, and person at the TECHniques Center would be an understatement. It helped me strengthen my weaknesses, such as time management and organization, and made my strengths even stronger. I learned true professional communication, daily notes, organization, and dedication, and it trained me to go 100% every day. The staff, fellow tutors, and students recognized what I was accomplishing and my efforts and pushed me to be the best I was day in and day out. I owe it to the TECHniques Center for making me the professional I am today.

What was your favorite memory about working in the TECHniques Center?

I have many fond memories of the TECHniques Center from making the music videos for losing team challenges ... to tutor trainings and monthly meetings ... the staff and the friendships I formed with them, the tutors, and the students.

What was something that being a tutor in the TECHniques Center taught you that you weren't expecting to learn? How has your experience at the TECHniques Center influenced where you are now in life?

I was not expecting to love teaching and helping people as much as I did. It helped me realize that this is what I wanted to do in whatever career I chose. Right before I started my second year of tutoring, I realized that I wanted to do something more hands-on in medicine and decided to leave the pre-med track. I quickly found my calling when I found a medical field that would let me do both: physical therapy. As a future physical therapist, I will be working with patients hands-on and teaching them exercises that fit their body and impairment. I will also have to fill in daily notes for each patient, just like I did with our students. I will have to think outside the box to fit in whatever the patients' likes are, similar to my approach with the students. Most of all, I will get to see their progress from their first visit to their discharge, which is also very similar to our students at the TECHniques Center when they don't need our services anymore because they have mastered how to tackle school. The TECHniques Center has shaped me into a person I like and want to be when I get a post-graduate job.

Dhweep, that was a wonderful answer! To expound upon that, tell us more about what you are doing now!

I am currently starting my 3rd and final year of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. I will begin one year of clinicals in a week (yikes!) and after that will graduate with my doctorate in May 2020.

Dhweep, that is so exciting! Congratulations on your progress in this intense program. We're so thrilled to learn this job influenced you so much and had such an impact on your future calling. It's amazing to see how far you've come and how much you've grown in this time. Given your experience, what advice would you give all our new tutors about working in the TECHniques Center so that they can be as successful as possible?

The one thing that I found a lot of tutors struggled with (and I did for a little bit) was looking at things from the student's perspective. We are tutors because we have been successful in our thought processes and ways of thinking. That does not mean, however, that there is only [one] way to understand a concept. I tried to involve the students' likes, personalities, and learning styles to evaluate how to help them with concepts. I also did not "teach" them a concept outright because I feel that it is important that they learn to think or initiate the thought on their own. I usually guided them into their thoughts and their way of thinking.

Also, do not force your thoughts and ideas, but instead use your students' ideas to help them become more independent. Each student is equally brilliant if given the right tools and guided the correct way.

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