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Empowering students to fulfill their dreams through education.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Student Profile

"I had a great teacher who really challenged me, and I challenged him back." -- Rediet.

Rediet T. came to the U.S. at the age of 18 as an international student from Ethiopia. Everything was new. The country, the educational system, even the communication was hard. Living and going to school in a different country was scary. She didn’t know a lot of people, and Rediet was away from her mother, her center of comfort and stability since the age of 3-and-a-half when her father passed away from cancer.

The school system in Ethiopia is completely different. There, the schedule is set for students, and they have limited choices. After high school, students take a test similar to the SAT, and they need to score high enough to choose a certain major. Rediet earned a good GPA in high school but she still didn’t get into the university she preferred. She ended up studying at Arba Minch University but really wanted to attend Addis Ababa University because that’s where she grew up. Then Rediet obtained an international student visa to study in the U.S. and came to San Diego City College.

Rediet is a math major but she didn’t always like the subject. Her perspective changed in the 9th grade. “I had a great teacher who really challenged me, and I challenged him back,” she related. Through the 8th grade, Rediet struggled with math, but her 9th grade teacher brought a passion to the subject she had not previously experienced. It changed Rediet’s world and her concept of math.

Now Rediet is a mentor in the First Year Experience services at City and a math tutor in the tutoring center. She lends her perspective to the students she works with: the challenge of facing a new world, in a different culture and environment. It’s a challenge many first-year students face because they are new to college. Rediet understands the anxiety. She’s been there and she helps her students fit in and adjust.

Rediet’s goal is to teach math in high school and college. She wants to bring to students the commitment, challenge, and passion she received from her 9th grade math teacher. Math is a difficult subject for many students. Rediet can relate and conveys one of the obstacles she faced in Ethiopia where it can be hard to even find a math book to study from.  She has some sage math advice for students at City and likens the study of math to learning a new language: “Do it every day,” she urged. “Practice the questions. Every day, solve at least two equations. You have to have a certain way of thinking when it comes to math. It’s a language. If you don’t practice it, you won’t be good at it,” she said.

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