“Football. I love sports… I played football, I played lacrosse, I ran track, the whole shebang.”
These are the words of Tyler Crutchfield, who is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Accounting at the University of South Florida.
“Football and sports, in general, were kind of like my first love, my first passion. I got lucky when I fell into accounting and now I get to do that for the rest of my life.”
Tyler, who earned his Bachelor’s from USF last December, knew early in his college career that accounting was a good fit for him.
“To be frankly honest, I thoroughly enjoy accounting. Some people may think I’m crazy, but I like math, I like numbers, I love problem solving, and that’s a lot of what accounting was, so that’s what drew me to the career field in the first place.”
After completing an internship with Deloitte this past Spring, and returning to school with a full-time offer for when he graduates, Tyler’s career is off to a pretty strong start.
“It’s a huge weight off your shoulders when you can be back in school and not have to worry about getting a job after because that part of the equation is solved.”
Luckily for those undergrads who are still trying to make it past the “weed out” classes, Tyler has decided to give back by working as a tutor this semester.
“To be able to share that experience with other individuals who are willing to put in the time, who are willing to search out those other resources such as tutoring to be able to improve their grades, I think that’s incredible. I think that’s awesome.”
Though he’s only been tutoring for a few months, Tyler has already proven himself to be a great instructor.
“I’ve gotten a lot of exposure from one-on-ones to big group sessions. Trying to help ten students at one time can be kind of overwhelming, but it’s taught me how to manage. Being able to understand that every single one of these students learns at a different pace, has a different understanding, some people are grasping it better than others… It’s made me a lot more adaptable.”
As for what he’s learned from his experience as a tutor so far, Tyler had plenty to share.
“It gives me a whole new outlook. Differentiating from where I stand, in that I have a full degree, I’ve been through all these courses, and now I’m having to take a step back into the basics of the course and kind of reteach myself those key fundamentals so that I can show students not only how you do something, but why you’re doing it.”
So, why do so many students enjoy working with Tyler? He thinks that it’s pretty simple.
“It means a lot to an individual when you’re able to sacrifice your own time to show them that you care. To show them it’s a Saturday or Sunday, but I’m still going to be available.”
Tyler has been around USF long enough to remember a time before Knack was an option for students. As such, he sees a lot of value in Knack’s partnership with the university.
“I think it makes a huge difference because it gives students that variability and that option to have extra sessions, or have some one-on-one time, or be able to meet with a tutor on the weekend, where I think students do the majority of their studying anyways. I can get somebody who’s going to be there and help me through my course. Someone who genuinely cares.”
He also had some great advice for new tutors who are just starting out, highlighting one thing he’s found to be particularly important.
“Patience. Number one thing going in… You gotta be patient because they’re going to get frustrated, they’re not going to understand it, and something you learned two or three years ago, something very simplistic that you can catch in a second may take them 20 minutes to figure out.”
When this happens, Tyler has learned how to “take a step back and say, ‘okay, it’s not working for you. What is another way I can try to get you to understand this?’ And just try to come in and attack it from every single angle.”
He ties this back to genuinely caring about helping students learn.
“You gotta be able to care and be able to put in that amount of effort so that no matter what student it is, who they are, what their background is, whatever the situation is, you have the ability to take a deep breath, be patient, and teach them in multiple ways.”
Tyler believes that he learned a lot of things through playing sports that have transferred nicely into helping him become an effective tutor.
“Oh, one hundred percent. One big thing is the adversity aspect — whether you’re fighting for a position, whether you’re fighting past an injury, whatever the circumstances are… These courses that we’re tutoring for are the ‘weed out’ classes as everybody refers to them. So, they’re supposed to be challenging, they’re supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be altering your mindset to get you to be able to think as an accountant, having that analytical and problem solving mindset.”
One skill that has been particularly valuable is his ability to lead.
“I was actually a team captain my junior and senior year for my football team. So having those leadership qualities really helped… Being able to command that respect, being able to control the environment so it doesn’t get to be this huge, chaotic mess when it’s you and ten students.”
Though he was clearly well prepared before becoming a tutor, Tyler still feels like he’s gotten a lot out of the experience so far.
“It’s been great. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I’ve grown, I think I’ve developed and learned a lot and I think it’s going to help me a lot, especially when I start my full-time career.”
Luckily for accounting students at USF, Tyler will still be available to tutor them for the rest of this school year. After that, it’s off to Deloitte where Tyler can keep putting his problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills to good use.
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