Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Computer Science


Soccer, Painting, Muay Thai, The Big Bang Theory show, Gym, Volunteering, Tutoring

About Me

Volunteering Beyond Campus

November 27, 2017

Back in high school, I used to volunteer a lot with many educational projects, from tutoring kids in after-school programs to teaching English to Vietnamese children in remote areas. So as not to abandon this hobby in college, I signed up as a math tutor for SAT Initiative. This program aims to prepare students in Richmond public high schools for standardized tests, and hopefully encourage them to continue pursuing higher education. We work with high schools whose majority of students are from low-income backgrounds, such as John Marshall and Huguenot, and offer tutoring sessions once or twice per week.

Unlike on-campus volunteering opportunities like Trick or Treat Street, in which volunteers only need to sign their names up on a shared Google Doc sheet, volunteering outside campus involves more steps. I must first fill out a form to request for service transportation, then wait a few days for the Transportation Services to get back to me with links to background check and requirements I need to fulfill. The only requirement I had to do was attending a 1-hour orientation, so that I could learn more about expectations, how the volunteering programs work, and what kind of impact we could make as volunteers. As far as I know, they offered this orientation twice on different dates to offer students some flexibility. Unfortunately, my schedule did not work with both, so they contacted me and other students who could not attend the early two to find a time that works best for everyone. 

After the background check and the orientation, I was free to start my volunteering sessions at Huguenot High School. The service shuttle would pick us up every week at THC at a designated time (in my case it’s Thursday afternoon) and drop us at the volunteering site, making it very easy for me to volunteer outside campus even when I don’t have a car. I think it depends on the volunteering sites, but for public high schools, they generally require you to present your driver license on the first day and sign in as visitors. The process overall was pretty straightforward, and the Transportation Services was really helpful and communicative as we find a shuttle time that works best for the tutoring session and my class schedule.

As for the volunteering itself, I really enjoyed it! Seeing how a student who struggled with systems of equations could eventually solve one on their own, for instance, was definitely rewarding. Even though our tutoring sessions are only once per week and might not drastically improve their SAT scores, I like being of help to them and sharing useful math tricks/materials so that they can also practice on their own. The students I tutored are very motivated, and some of them are even thinking of applying to UR (I hope they’ll apply!). It’s also great to set aside an hour and a half per week to do something completely different from the normal school-dhall-bed cycle, and I’d totally recommend it. 

sat initiative

About me

Hi guys, I'm Tracy, a newbie Spider at Richmond! My majors are probably Computer Science and Math, and I'm so in love with my current Math/CS classes. They're all amazing! A little more about my background: I'm from Vietnam, but I went to high school in Nebraska. It feels so weird to be a freshman again, when you practically know nobody at school, keep getting lost while finding your classes, always look up to your upperclassmen (no actually, with my height of 5ft2'',  I technically look up to everyone); and struggle with all the new changes.

Yet, it's also exciting! If you haven't already known, University of Richmond offers a wealth of choices in academics, research opportunities, extracurricular activites and - most importantly - desserts. So my goal is to get out of my comfort zone, jump at different opportunities (or desserts) that intrigue me, and make the most out of my college experience. I love soccer, so my friends and I just formed an intramural team named Kiss My Pass. I'm also interested in martial arts, learning ballroom dancing, painting, learning guitar, baking, making new friends,  tutoring and volunteering. Yup, that's quite a lot! But I have 4 years here to follow my passions and become who I aspire to be. As a Spider Diarist, I will also make sure to keep you updated on my journey at Richmond!

Why UR?

I actually applied to UR on a whim without researching carefully about it. At that time, all those tedious Why X and "What's your plans bla bla bla" prompts have exhausted my meager creative juices, and writing college essays quickly rose to the top of my most dreaded chores. "Tell us about Spiders" was a fresh air. It revived the truly poetic, hopelessly romantic, exasperatingly dramatic and possibly neurotic side of me. In short, I loved the prompt; and with the waived application fee as a plus, I decided to apply to UR. It was not until I got accepted that I started visiting the school and seriously considering what it has to offer. During my first visit, as cliched as that might sound, I fell in love with Richmond. What's not to love about such helpful and outstanding professors, the wonderful opportunities to engage in research or study abroad, the vibrant, inclusive and diverse community, and again - most importantly - the irresistable desserts? I went to the admission office to pay my deposit right during that visit. And voilà, here I am as an excited baby Spider!