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Woman of the Week: Interview with an AVID Instructor

Welcome back to the Woman of the Week series! I’m eager to introduce you to Julissa, a friend I’ve met through a women’s Facebook group I co-run whom I’ve gotten to talk travel with a few times! When I heard she loved to travel and saw some of her photos she shared in the group I knew she’d be a great fit. She’s here with some insight toward life as an AVID tutor, talking travel tips, the challenges of the work/travel balance, and the importance of connection.

Thanks, Julissa, for sharing your expertise and story with us!

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Julissa standing at the top of a zip-line in Costa Rica.

CONNECT WITH JULISSA:

FACEBOOK


Bio:

Age: 27

Hometown: Indianapolis

Current residence: Indianapolis

Job title: AVID Tutor

Place you’d visit again: Vicenza, Italy and Barcelona, Spain 

Destination on your bucket list: Paris, The United Kingdom, Iceland

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.

If I am being honest, I think I have always had the “travel bug.” While in the Army, my dad was stationed in Vicenza, Italy where I would eventually be born. From there, I was able to explore many parts of Europe, even taking my first steps in Germany! Although I have been blessed to travel to so many different places, my ultimate goal would be to go back to my birthplace. I want to see where my story began.

WHY DO YOU TRAVEL?

So far, the main reason for my travels is group/social functioning. Whether it was singing at the Vatican with The Indianapolis Children’s Choir or learning Spanish and Portuguese cuisine during a college winter term, I have always been a part of a group. Even though it was obvious I was a tourist on these trips, I didn’t mind because I knew I had people who had my back. Besides, I was still able to enjoy all the places as if I was traveling by myself.

EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK.

Currently, I am an AVID Tutor. AVID is a college preparatory program for students beginning in middle school and continuing in high school. For me, I work with students at my former high school. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I would be comfortable working at the high school. What if the students didn’t want to respect me because I was young? However, with time, I got over my fears and even began to develop close relationships with my students.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS JOB?

Connections, connections, connections. In all honestly, before I was where I am now, I was going from one internship to another. Although I was very thankful for each opportunity, I felt like they were not really helping me figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So, when I noticed a job posted for an AVID Tutor at my former high school, I decided to go on a new journey. I emailed the building principal about the position, who happened to be my freshman principal. He was ecstatic to hear from me and referred me to my now boss for an interview. 

Although I have enjoyed my time as a tutor, I want to expand my skills. I really want to apply what I have learned from my Master’s program. So, I have been job searching for counseling or advising positions in higher education. I want to continue helping students achieve their academic goals, but in college where I know from personal experiences, can be very stressful for an incoming freshman.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY AT WORK LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

A typical day includes facilitating my students in Socratic seminars and grading their tutorial request forms. When I work with my juniors and seniors, I try to make sure that I can offer a lending ear whenever they have questions about college. I enjoy mentoring this group especially, because I know that they are very determined about creating their futures.

ARE YOU ABLE TO EASILY BALANCE WORK AND TRAVEL? IF SO, HOW DO YOU BALANCE THEM?

Unfortunately at the time, no. Two years ago, I started graduate school. I pursued a Master’s degree in Student Development and Administration from a local university. Many days, the workload from assignments along with my job, were too much to bear. In fact, there were days I wanted to give up. However, as someone who always likes to follow a project through the end, I completed my degree. Despite some flexibility in my schedule, now I find that I do not have enough money to travel again.

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A favorite of Julissa’s travel photos from Italy.

WHAT’S THE BEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED FROM YOUR TRAVELS?

As cliché as it may sound, whenever I travel, I really learn just how big the world is. I have been to several countries where I am able to just breathe and reflect on life. I have always treasured this serenity, especially when I feel like my life is too chaotic. 

SHARE ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL MEMORIES.

One of my favorite memories was hatching and releasing baby leatherback turtles in Costa Rica!

IF YOU COULD SHARE ONE TRAVEL TIP WITH OTHER WOMEN, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Simply enjoy every minute. You never know when you’ll have another opportunity to just be yourself.


THANKS FOR READING JULISSA’S STORY!

Looking for more interviews? Head to our Woman of the Week archives for the full library.

I’ve also created three freebies to help you plan your next adventure:

  • 50 Practical Travel Tips from Solo Lady Backpackers (a 6-page PDF)
  • 20 Tips for Sustainable Travel (a checklist)
  • and 30 Jobs to See the World.

After you join the mailing list up, you’ll have access to all the freebies, AND get the password to the Global Directory! The directory will connect you to my recommended resources for each country and tons of travel topics. All blog posts I recommend are written by traveling ladies. From logistics to inspiration, the Global Directory will help you find the info you need no matter where you’re going.

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Sarah is a 24-year-old working in juvenile justice who loves to travel the world (if you haven't gathered that already). I'm a proud cat mom, coffee-addict, and Harry Potter fanatic with an over reliance on list-making. Welcome to my little slice of the internet, where I'll try to convince you that work and travel are NOT mutually exclusive.



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